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Independents' Day

Third of OOH providers still missing key targets

By Steve Nowottny

A third of GP out-of-hours providers are still failing to meet key national requirements on providing urgent care, according to a new report from the Healthcare Commission.

The watchdog's wide-ranging review of urgent and emergency care, published today, finds there have been ‘significant improvements' from many providers - but it also warns there are major gaps in out-of-hours cover.

30% of services are failing to meet national requirements on answering telephone calls, while 35% are missing targets on how quickly they start assessments following a patient's initial call.

Anna Walker, chief executive of the Healthcare Commission, said: ‘Our findings show that in two thirds of areas the required standards are being met, but there remain some real poor performers.'

‘Where there is poor performance in terms of out-of-hours services it is serious – and we will be pursuing it.'

The report also warns of continuing issues with access to GPs for urgent care, both in-hours and out-of-hours, concluding: ‘Most patients are positive about their experiences in A&E, but many people still experience problems contacting or seeing their local GP.'

Just 44% of out-of-hours GP services had arrangements in place with local practices to automatically divert calls when their surgery was closed.

Out of Hours: third of providers missing targets Out of Hours: third of providers missing targets

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