Intended for healthcare professionals


Satisfaction with out of hours primary care

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 30 April 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2185
  1. Nicola Walker, clinical research fellow1,
  2. Richard Baker, professor1
  1. 1Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 6TP, UK
  1. Correspondence to: R Baker rb14{at}

Time to stop writing reports and start taking action

In November 2014, the House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts concluded that patients’ experience of primary care out of hours in England varies considerably and unacceptably across the country, as does the cost.1 The committee criticised NHS England for its failure to provide effective oversight and, among other recommendations, urged NHS England to develop its understanding of reasons for the variations in experience and costs. In the July 2014 GP Patient Survey, 66% of respondents rated their overall experience of out of hours care as “very good” or “good,” but the trend is downwards, the respective ratings being 68% in December 2013 and 71% in December 2012.2 Providing evidence that NHS England will find helpful, a linked paper by Warren and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.h2040) analyses results of the national GP Patient Survey and describes factors associated with poor patient experience of out of hours services.3

In recent years various steps have been taken to improve out of hours care. In 2006 the Department of Health published several National Quality Requirements that out of hours providers are obliged to meet.4 In 2010, after a series …

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