Out-of-hours GP services in England: report, together with formal minutes relating to the report

Document type
Corporate author(s)
Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons. Committee of Public Accounts
Date of publication
12 November 2014
House of Commons papers. Session 2014/15; HC 583
Health Services
Social welfare
Material type

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People turn to out-of-hours GP services when they are worried about their own health or that of family or friends, and want urgent advice or treatment. However, the urgent and emergency care system is complex and people struggle to know which is the right service to use. Patients’ experience of and satisfaction with the out-of-hours services varies significantly and unacceptably across the country, as does the cost. NHS England has not provided effective oversight of whether the services are providing value for money. It lacks the basic information needed to understand what lies behind the variations and identify where it should intervene. It has not dealt adequately with conflicts of interest which inevitably occur when many commissioners are also providers. NHS England also needs to address the perverse financial incentives which get in the way of different urgent care services working effectively together. It needs to examine whether the out-of-hours services are working properly with other services and whether the system encourages duplication when resources are so constrained. At the most basic level, the Department of Health and NHS England must develop information to be able to know whether there will be enough GPs to cope with the growing workload.

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