General practice at nightBMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.7003.466 (Published 19 August 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:466
- Iona Heath
- General practitioner Caversham Group Practice, Kentish Town Health Centre, London NW5 2AJ
The public must decide what sort of service it wants
General practitioners' recent rejection of the government's proposals for out of hours care1 and the heat of the debates at the midsummer conference of local medical committees2 show that the issue has become a leading preoccupation for doctors. Yet out of hours services are not mentioned in the NHS Executive's Priorities and Planning Guidance for the NHS: 1996/73 or in Renewing the NHS: Labour's Agenda for a Healthier Britain.4 No wonder general practitioners think that both politicians and senior managers are out of touch with their concerns.
Since 1948, general practitioners have assumed responsibility for the care of their patients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They are not obliged to deliver all of that care themselves, but they are responsible for making …