Area’s MSP ‘seriously concerned’ by out-of-hours proposals

Written by Scott Campbell, Cumbernauld Media's Senior Reporter.

Published at 15:07 on 8 February 2015

NHS    Politics    SNP

Cumbernauld and Kilsyth SNP MSP, Jamie Hepburn.

CUMBERNAULD and Kilsyth’s SNP MSP has welcomed the news that the Scottish Government will undertake a national review of primary out-of-hours services – while a consultation is ongoing in the Lanarkshire region with proposals that would drastically shake-up existing services. 

Scottish Health Secretary, Shona Robison MSP announced earlier this month that a review into national primary out-of-hours services will look at such services can be maintained to their upmost in times of financial challenges, Scotland’s ageing population, and as health and social care services are integrated.

The review comes more than a decade after the 2004 UK GP contract, which transferred responsibility for delivery of out-of-hours primary care services to the management of health boards, while the review will build on the Scottish Government’s 2020 Vision for the NHS.

Health Secretary Shona Robison announced the review, which will be led by Sir Lewis Ritchie, during a visit to Ninewells Hospital’s A&E department on January

“Primary care is the cornerstone of the NHS with more than 90 per cent of patient visits starting and finishing in primary care,” Ms Robison announced.

The Health Secretary confirmed that the out-of-hours review will consider:

  • Care expected at night and at the weekend
  • Current best practice
  • Ensuring a high quality and safe experience for patients and health professionals
  • Core requirements for service at night and at the weekend, including roles and skills needed
  • Where service delivery of out-of-hours makes sense on a ‘Once for Scotland’ basis, and where local variation is needed
  • Pilots to test new models

The review is expected to provide recommendations by late summer 2015, but its announcement came none too soon for NHS Lanarkshire, who have welcomed the review – despite the Lanarkshire health board announcing a consultation into proposals that would alter the Primary Care Out-of-Hours service throughout the region, on 6 January.

Calum Campbell, NHS Lanarkshire’s Chief Executive said earlier this month: “In Lanarkshire we have reached the point where staffing an out of hours service is difficult and unpredictable. This is affecting patients who often have to wait longer to be seen than we would wish.”

He added: “As we move forward with the Lanarkshire out of hours review process, we will ensure that we are aligned with proposals flowing from the national review in a way that strengthens and enhances future primary care out of hours service provision in Lanarkshire.”

In a consultation running until 6 April 2015, NHS Lanarkshire is seeking views on two service models: one primary care out-of-hours centre at Douglas Street Community Health Clinic in Hamilton; or two primary care out-of-hours centres one of which would be in Airdrie Community Health Centre and the other in Douglas Street Community Health Clinic, Hamilton.

Cumbernauld and Kilsyth MSP, Jamie Hepburn has since welcomed the Health Secretary’s announcement, and has called on NHS Lanarkshire to recognise that this review could well impact on the proposals they are currently consulting on.

Commenting, Jamie Hepburn MSP: “This announcement by the Scottish Government is welcome as it is important to look at the provision of out-of-hours services across the country.

“In light of this announcement I am now calling on NHS Lanarkshire to recognise that the findings of this review could impact on they are currently consulting on.

“I remain seriously concerned by the proposed changes that NHS Lanarkshire have put forward, in which all options they have presented would result in the permanent withdrawal of out-of-hour GP services from Cumbernauld.”

“Any proposed changes in services that NHS Lanarkshire’s review is now looking at, including out-of-hour GP services, must be consistent with what is agreed as a result of this national review.”