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Scottish GPs provide almost one million consultations out of hours

GPs are already providing access millions of appointments at weekends and evenings, as data reveals that Scottish GPs alone provided 997,112 consultations out of hours last year.

Figures published for the first time by Scotland’s Information Services Division reveal that 894,474 patients used GP OOH services, with 56% of these using primary care emergency centres, 21% through OOH nurse or doctor advice, and 19% were home visits.

This included a large number of patients aged over 75, who accounted for one fifth of those using primary care out of hours.

GPC Scotland deputy chair Dr Andrew Buist said that, with the move to seven-day services across the UK, the figures showed that GPs were already providing out-of-hours services.

He said: ‘If you have an urgent or emergency medical need, then you can and will be seen — regardless of the time or day of the week.’

He added that maintaining the current service in the face of the national workforce crisis was heaping putting pressure on GP services, adding: ‘That is why the priority must always be to ensure that people in need of urgent and emergency care have access to high-quality, person-centred, safe and effective care when they need it and on a basis which is sustainable in the long term.’

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced to MPs last year that he had taken his own children to A&E because he didn’t want to wait till after the weekend to see a GP.