I should like to respond to the recent letter from Dr Simon Collins about of-of-hours care. He states that the ‘out-of-hours provider in Hertfordshire had just introduced a policy whereby the doctor needed to be on a list local to them… in order for them to continue working there'. This statement is only partially correct.
Herts Urgent Care has had to introduce this policy as imposed upon us by the SHA, NHS East of England.
In the wake of the Daniel Ubani case, NHS East of England carried out a peer review of all out-of-hours providers across the region. One of the recommendations (now mandated) is that all GPs working for out-of-hours services in the area should be on an East of England performers list or one that had been approved as compliant with the same standards.
This has now been taken up by NHS Hertfordshire, in spite of our many appeals against the move and a number of deadline extensions. It will be forcibly imposed upon us as of 31 May 2011.
Our organisation stands to lose around 15 of our regular GP workforce who will no longer be able to book shifts with us. I agree entirely with Dr Collins that this is a backward step, but wished to reassure him that this was not something we wanted.
From Dr Tony Davies, St Albans, Chief medical officer, Herts Urgent Care