Intended for healthcare professionals


Proposal for GPs to take back some out of hours care sparks debate

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 06 June 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3712
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

A row has erupted over a suggestion by the Royal College of General Practitioners that GPs in England could potentially take back responsibility for providing out of hours primary care services for some of their patients.

The row stems from an article published in the Guardian newspaper on 4 June, in which the college’s chairwoman, Claire Gerada, was reported as saying that GPs could take back responsibility for the out of hours care of patients who were heavy users of NHS services.1 These would include frail, elderly people; people at the end of their lives; people with complex medical problems; and people with certain mental health problems. Together they would equate to about 5% of the total population or roughly three million people.

Instead of these patients seeking help through existing urgent care services or turning up at hospital emergency departments in difficulties, the proposal was that …

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