Night calls should be limited to genuine emergencies say GPs

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: (Published 28 May 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:1387
  1. L Beecham

    General practitioners in Britain will make fewer home visits at night when proposed changes to their terms of service are approved by parliament (see editorial on p 1386). But their leaders and the Department of Health argue that other proposals such as increasing the number of cooperatives, longer surgery hours, or the establishment of primary care emergency centres, will actually improve services.

    Since the NHS started in 1948 a home visit has been the traditional way for general practitioners to provide emergency care to their patients out of surgery hours. Although 95% of contacts between patients and general practitioners take place during normal surgery hours, night visits have increased fivefold in the past 25 years and have doubled in the past three years. General practitioners made two million night visits in 1992-3. …

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