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Out-of-hours shut down due to shortage of GPs

Out of hours services in Glasgow and Clyde have had to shut down services at short notice over the holidays due to a shortage of GPs.

NHS Glasgow has been forced to centralise services, use more nurse practitioners and enhance pay rates in an attempt to cope with the shortage of GPs and keep services open.

NHS Glasgow told Pulse that during the holiday period in particular, it was difficult to ‘fully staff’ its primary care emergency centres,

An NHS Glasgow spokesperson said: ‘Despite the assistance we get from GPs, including the support of many who come in at short notice, we have had to make short notice closures of centres when we do not have GP cover. The GP out-of-hours service remains under pressure to staff all GP rotas.’

In an attempt to relieve the pressure on its out-of-hours services, NHS Glasgow is now using a team of nurse practitioners who can see, treat and discharge patients and also perform a home visits.

The Scottish Government announced plans in April to trial a plan to give nurse practitioners a significantly enhanced role in out-of-hours care, as part of a £10 million investment in urgent GP services.

Nurse practitioners have been given an enhanced role in out-of-hours services across Glasgow and Clyde, as well as Fife, Highland, Lanarkshire and Grampian in a bid to ease the workload for GPs.

Elsewhere in the UK, out of hours services are being centralised in a bid to save cash. Earlier this month a rural out-of-hours service in Devon closed after NHS managers struck a deal for a single provider to deliver 111 and out-of-hours services in the area,