NHS Lanarkshire to hold event to gather views on GP out of hours service

Written by Calvin Brown.
Published at 21:44 on 22 June 2014.
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PATIENTS and carers will be among those discussing how to improve GP Out Of Hours Services at an event being hosted by NHS Lanarkshire this month.

NHS Lanarkshire has invited a wide range of stakeholders to consider proposed service improvement options to ensure the service is as safe, person-centred and effective as possible at the event in Kirklands HQ, Bothwell, on Friday 27 June 2014.

A full review of the service, which operates at the evenings and weekends when GP practices are closed, is currently underway.

Craig Cunningham, Head of South Lanarkshire Community Health Partnership, NHS Lanarkshire, said: “There are significant challenges right now to providing out of hours services, not just in Lanarkshire, but in health boards across Scotland.

“To see how we can best address these challenges, NHS Lanarkshire is carrying out a full review involving those who use the service, staff and GPs who work in it and others interested in the future of the service.

“Through this process, our vision is to provide a model of urgent primary care service which will deliver safe, high-quality urgent assessment and treatment for the people of Lanarkshire when their own GP practice is closed.”

The review has so far included a survey of people using the service, focus groups with staff and GPs and presentations to community groups including carer organisations. Public Partnership Forum and carers representatives sit on the review group and have been involved in early work to design the project and develop potential improvement options. 

Stakeholders will shortlist proposed options at the event on 27 June. An options appraisal event will be held in the Autumn to rank and identify the preferred options, which members of the public other stakeholders will then have the chance to comment on.

NHS Lanarkshire's Out Of Hours Service is for people who need urgent medical care and cannot wait until their GP surgery is open. The service can be accessed by calling NHS 24 on 111. 

An appointment may then be arranged at one of the Out Of Hours Centres. The main ones in Lanarkshire are within the emergency departments at Wishaw General Hospital, Monklands Hospital and Hairmyres Hospital. There are two satellite centres at Central Health Centre, Cumbernauld, and Lanark Health Centre. Home visits are also provided where necessary.

On average, the service sees around 1,000 people each week at the centres, carries out 300 home visits and provides advice over the phone to 177 patients.

Across Scotland, it can currently be difficult to get enough GPs to work in the out of hours period. At times this has meant that one or more of the out of hours centres in Lanarkshire has had to close temporarily as well as fewer GPs being available to provide home visits.

Some of the doctors who provide the service are salaried employees of NHS Lanarkshire. The majority are self-employed GPs who work on a shift-by-shift basis in the service.

If you would like to share your views on the service and its future development you can:

  • Feed your information in through the Public Partnership Forums. Visit www.nhslanarkshire.org.uk/Involved/PPF for details of your local forum.
  • Email: OOHreview@lanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk .
  • More information about the review and some frequently asked questions are available at www.nhslanarkshire.org.uk/Involved/consultation/OOH.

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