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Urban GPs buck trend and opt-in

GPs in the UK's two biggest cities are bucking the national trend by keeping their out-of-hours responsibility. A survey by the Harmoni co-operative in west London found 86 per cent of its GPs, including Dr Tom Davies (pictured), would opt in.

Some 65 out of 80 practices covered by the Badger co-op in Birmingham have also chosen to retain out-of-hours responsibilities.

A BBC poll of 3,000 GPs last week found 83 per cent planned to opt out.

Dr Davies said it was relatively cheap to run an urban out-of-hours service and GPs could be better off opting in.

He added GPs would have more say over the quality of the service if the co-op kept control. 'We believe it will cost a bit less than the £7,500 the average GP will lose by opting out,' he said. 'The retained £7,500 will also count towards your pension so it's a win-win situation.'

Dr Fay Wilson, medical director of Badger, said GPs did not trust PCTs to set up a new service which would not leave GPs to pick up the pieces.

GPs have also hit out at national media coverage of the BBC poll.

GPC chair Dr John Chisholm said: 'The coverage was unfortunate because it implied patients might be at risk and the quality of service would diminish. We have no evidence that will happen.'

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