Plans to introduce new out of hours doctors’ appointments at local hub centres could ease
pressure on A&E departments and allow patients to see medics more quickly. Here our
panel discuss the October 2018 planned service introduction. But what do you think?
Chairman of Doncaster CCG, Dr David Crichton
The CCG has just made an announcement on the issue of out of hours doctor’s surgeries. There will be more GPs available out of hours and more appointments at GP surgeries at weekends and evenings from October. The CCG has awarded a contract to provide 160 hours a week of extra contact time with patients to Primary Care Doncaster Ltd – the federation that represents the borough’s 42 GP practices. The sessions will be paid for by nearly £2 million of new funding from NHS England. We welcome this extra funding which will translate into hundreds of extra appointments every week in Doncaster – over and above what we currently have. Patients will be able to see a range of health professionals appropriate to their particular needs, including doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and pharmacists.
Publicity officer of Doncaster Little Theatre, Yve Robinson
If funding is in place for this then I feel this would be a good idea. It could take the pressure off A&E departments and make them less stressful for patients and staff. It would put everyone in a better mood. Also if there were more nurse consultants and they felt they were able to cope with a greater workload, then that would also be great for the service. But I feel they would have to be paid enough and valued for the extra work they would have to do. However, if this is implemented I hope this doesn’t go the same way as shops and retail went when it decided to do more out of hours work. In that case people began to work 24/7 and didn’t do this through choice. For many it became compulsory rather than an option and I wouldn’t like to see this situation. It would be great to have the option of either A&E or a doctor depending on the situation.
Manager of Doncaster Development Trust, Bill Morrison
I have mixed feelings about this. It’s good that it could take pressure off A&E departments, but are GP surgeries willing to open longer hours? A&E is under lots of pressure. Why do people sometimes have to go to A&E when they would be better off going to their local GP? In addition, A&E is sometimes misused by people, and treatments they could get from their GP are often sought after at A&E departments. That’s why it was felt that services were needed to be provided at big centres locally like the Vermuyden medical centre at Thorne, Hatfield Health Centre and the Flying Scotsman Centre at St Sepulchre Gate. The thing is that now, rather than people just popping in, I believe they have to make an appointment. At the same time I feel people should take more responsibility and not misuse A&E.
Edlington councillor, Frank Arrowsmith
On the whole I feel this is a positive move. There are great benefits for everyone to having more access to GPs. At the same time the Government is looking at improving training for more people to deliver the additional service and give greater access to doctors. We don’t want to overstretch the service we have, but it would be good to make GPs more accessible to people who, for example, work unsociable hours and can’t get to see a doctor during the day. Also, making doctors more available at anytime would enable them to get appropriate treatment quicker and not delay the vital treatment they may need. This could save the need for more costly treatment down the line. The onset of illness is not confined to a 9am to 5pm schedule and access to doctors shouldn’t be. However, we have to have the funding for this.