GPs’ out of hours arrangements are not to blame for pressure on emergency departments, MPs hear

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 22 May 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3363
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1London

Growing pressure on hospitals’ accident and emergency departments in England have not been directly caused by GPs’ arrangements for out of hours care, experts have told MPs.

Speaking at the parliamentary health select committee on 21 May, expert witnesses said that many factors had contributed to the worrying level of pressure on emergency departments.

The committee, holding the first evidence session of its inquiry into emergency services and emergency care, asked witnesses whether they agreed with the view of the health secretary for England, Jeremy Hunt, that the main reason for rising attendances at emergency departments was changes to the GP contract in 2004 concerning out of hours work.

Mike Farrar, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations that commission and provide NHS services, told the …

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