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Care ‘good’ at only half of OOH providers

Exclusive: Just half of GPs regard the clinical care offered by their local out-of-hours provider as ‘good' or better, significantly worse than their view of hospitals, Pulse's survey found.

Some 48% of respondents gave their out-of-hours provider a positive rating for clinical care – 31% good and 17% very good – compared with an equivalent figure of 64% for hospitals.

Clinical care was rated ‘acceptable' by 42% of GPs, ‘poor' by 8% and ‘very poor' by 2%.

Some 18% said they believed their patients had received care in the last 12 months that was ‘dangerously sub-standard', and 3% said they believed one of their patients had died in the last year potentially as a result of sub-standard out-of-hours care.

One GP in the Thames Valley said: ‘Recently out-of-hours doctors have been advising patients to see their GP at the next surgery. A child with haematuria was later diagnosed with a renal tumour.'

Another GP in the South West added: ‘We have raised a worrying incident with the out-of-hours provider and it has pledged to address the shortcomings identified.'

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, GPC negotiator with responsibility for out-of-hours care, said many problems lay with the way national quality requirements were being monitored.

He said: ‘I suspect many providers haven't been adequately performance managed.'