Out of hours care must be reviewed, says Royal College of GPs chair

Posted on August 24, 2009. Filed under: Journals | Tags: |

Health Service Journal | By Steve Ford | 24 August 2009

The use of overseas doctors to cover out of hours and weekend care must be reviewed due to potential safety issues, according to GP leaders.  

Professor Steve Field, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said the college was worried about the quality of out of hours care provided for patients in some parts of the country.

He said: “It is the responsibility of primary careorganisations to ensure that patients receive good quality care by commissioning appropriate services. This is obviously not working and something needs to be done.

“We believe a radical review of out of hours and weekend care is needed,” he said.

His comments follow the recent case of a 70 year old man in Cambridgeshire who was accidentally killed by an overdose of painkillers delivered by a GP from Germany on his first shift in the UK.

Professor Field added: “I am particularly worried about the use of doctors from Europe flying in to provide out of hours care and then flying back to their home countries to provide services there.

“Doctors from Europe who come to the UK to work in out of hours services must prove they are of the same quality as our home-grown doctors. We are not convinced there are appropriate checks in place to ensure they are,” he said.

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