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Another CCG adopts seven-day opening

A further CCG has proposed for all GP surgeries to offer seven-day services in a bid to ease the pressures on A & E services during the winter period.

North Durham CCG followed the lead of CCGs in the North West in calling for its 31 practices to provide services over the weekend, and 28 practices have already confirmed their involvement.

The CCG said it would be providing up to £1m for practices, who would receive funding based on their opening hours, including Sunday opening, which has been taken up by 25% of practices. Practices will also ‘cross-cover’ for other practices, allowing patients to be seen in neighbouring practices when their own is not open.  

North Durham CCG piloted the scheme with practices between November and February last year, the evaluation of which found that patient experience was ‘excellent’.

Dr Neil O’Brien, the chief clinical officer of the North Durham CCG, said that A&E nurses in North Durham are able to book patients into their GP practice if they believe that is the best course of treatment.

He added: ‘What we are trying to do is build up that capacity in general practice, managing that cultural shift in primary care to think about the move towards a more seven-day service and also just nudging primary care to integrating more with 111 and A&E as well.’

The CCG has also allocated £2m to the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust. Dr O’Brien said ‘This is our strategy for using current money to manage the immediate burden, I mean we had a situation last year there was 15 to 20 ambulances queuing outside our main hospital and that’s just not acceptable, so we are looking at short term measures this year to put in to ensure that that does not happen again.’

Readers' comments (15)

  • I give up.

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  • Surely if ambulances are queuing up outside A&E, it is because they need the "Accident and Emergency" service rather than "Primary Care" GP services? Why is it suddenly acceptable for primary care to pick up the over-burden A&E are facing, instead of A&E correctly managing their patients, including sending them away when they attend inappropriately. We cannot and should not simply substitute for their service, nor should we, as an NHS, pander to patient convenience or wants, rather than the true clinical need. If we don't curb this unreasonable demand from the masses, there will be no service left within the decade. No-one seeks to deny appropriate care in emergencies, but patient expectations are soaring and they seem to have lost perspective on what actually constitutes a medical emergency.

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  • Please go ahead and make sure that all GPs either retire or leave the country for good.

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  • Go ahead and help to cripple the GP practices forever

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  • For what patients? If they are GP emergencies, there's the out-of-hours service already. If they are not emergencies, why would they consider A&E?

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  • I am sorry to say the public are now like thousands of spoilt chidren which in a way is not their fault - the politicians have allowed them to become spoilt by giving and giving and now they are horrrendously demanding - do we keep on giving I think not or there will be no NHS left! Something needs to be done for sure - educate - discipline - and as someone else has said start telling patients when they attend A&E inappropriately then after another 6mths of that start turning them away encourage self care and GPs to have the same prinicipal we have to go through all of that before we can ever hope to stop inappropriate demand - warn the public by TV media that is what will start happening!! Think how you would treat your child - would you keep giving Ha you would be bankrupt?????

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  • The public are indeed too demanding and spoilt with ridiculous expectations. I endorse all of the above.

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  • One thing though-I think it's quite inappropriate to have a nurse in a walk- in centre at the weekends. They do not have the necessary skills and can often make matters so much worse.

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  • Why is there not a national TV campaign to advise patients when to go to their GP and when to use the other services available?

    This kind of piecemeal change at local level is just going to add to the confusion.

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  • it would be useful to know how the funding is going to be allocated to practices. how much will each practice get paid for this extra work (outside of core hours) and how much work will be expected for that income. would allow readers to guage if such proposals were cost effective and compare with what other CCG's are planning

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