Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

GPs Say Night-Calls Reform Has Hit Care of Patients

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

GPs Say Night-Calls Reform Has Hit Care of Patients

Article excerpt

Byline: LECH MINTOWT-CZYZ

SOME FAMILY doctors today admit that changes in the outofhours care system has damaged patient care.

Nearly half of the GPs surveyed said their patients had suffered as a result of reforms which allow doctors to opt out of night visits.

More than a third said it has become more difficult for patients to see a doctor, causing particular damage to the care of those with long-term or terminal illnesses.

Many doctors also fear that cuts in the service are likely.

The new GP contract was introduced in April last year.

It allows the majority of family doctors to opt out of outofhours work when local health bosses arrange alternative provision.

More than 95 per cent of doctors stopped providing the service and have been replaced by co-operatives of GPs or groups of paramedics and nurses.

The poll of 501 GPs for the BBC found 85 per cent thought their quality of life had improved under the new regime but 45 per cent felt the quality of out-of-hours care had fallen. …

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