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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Scottish out-of-hours on the up but work still remains

Out-of-hours services in Scotland are improving but concerns remain about clinical governance and risk management arrangements, a report concludes.

The report by NHS Quality Improvement Scotland recommends that key performance

indicators be introduced to measure the quality of out-of-hours care.

It also highlights difficulties in co-ordinating information between the NHS 24 telephone triage service and GPs.

The review took place soon after NHS 24 was introduced and became the subject of strenuous criticism from GPs for

delaying call-outs and over-

referring patients.

It concluded the introduction of telephone access and triage in 2004 meant 'safe, reliable care can now be provided 24/7 across Scotland'.

NHS Quality Improvement Scotland benchmarked each NHS board against national standards, with most earning a score of either two or three out of four.

Dr Dawn Westwood, a GP in Dalkeith, Midlothian, and a member of the review team, said the introduction of NHS 24 and GPs' opting out of out-of-hours meant huge changes had been needed in a short space of time.

She said: 'The main message about the out-of-hours services is the change-around has been phenomenal and had to happen quickly.'

Further changes had happened since the reviews took place, Dr Westwood added.

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