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Should general practitioners resume 24 hour responsibility for their patients? No

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39350.516887.AD (Published 04 October 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:697
  1. Helen Herbert, chair
  1. Royal College of General Practitioners Wales, Cardiff CF10 4RU
  1. nedmunds{at}rcgp.org.uk

Complaints about the care provided by out of hours services in the UK are growing. Roger Jones thinks that general practitioners should take back the role, but Helen Herbert believes their efforts would be better focused on improving current systems

The question should not be whether general practitioners should take 24 hour contractual responsibility for their patients; rather we should be calling on primary care organisations to take creative and innovative action to engage providers, including general practices, to provide good local solutions. Several organisations have done this already so why not the rest? Access to good quality care should be the preserve of all, not just the lucky few.

Danger of long hours

The relinquishing of out of hours responsibility has led to accusations that general practitioners do not care about their patients. But it is precisely because we want the best care for patients that the change was made. Surely it cannot be in the interests of patients for doctors to work all day, be up most of the night on call, and then work through another …

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