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Medicopolitical Digest

BMA ends link with HealthcallNHS staff planning to be integratedScottish GPs will be consulted on NHS white paperBMA gives evidence on private health care

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 06 February 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:403

BMA ends link with Healthcall

The BMA and Healthcall have ended their joint agreement to provide out of hours services in primary care. Healthcall plans to set up a network of local clinical governance groups and will invite all local providers of out of hours care, particularly GP cooperatives, to join.

The BMA has had a contract with Healthcall plc and its predecessor since 1966. In 1990 the contract was renegotiated until 2000. BMA members receive a discount and Healthcall gives a percentage of the turnover to the association. The service has provided care on behalf of GPs for about 20 million patients.

In a joint press statement the BMA says that it welcomes this development and will encourage its members, local medical committees, and primary care groups to become involved. It points out that the initiative is the logical consequence of the 1995 changes to GPs' terms of service which gave family doctors responsibility for ensuring the quality of the out of hours care.

The chairman of the BMA council, Dr Ian Bogle, said, “Healthcall can proudly boast of being the original provider of commercial deputising services, enabling GPs to …

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