22 March 2010

Out of hours GP services in the county will come under the spotlight this week (24th March) at Northamptonshire County Council’s scrutiny meeting.

From a medical emergency to concerns about a vulnerable older person, out of hours services are essential for the many people who rely on receiving support at all times that are outside of normal working hours.

Following an announcement by the Patients Association that too many people in England receive poor quality out-of-hours doctors’ services, the various partners organisations that are responsible for offering out of hours care and support in the county are coming together to look at this issue in more detail, lead by the county council’s health and adult social services scrutiny committee.

The committee with hear a presentation by NHS Northamptonshire as the commissioner of the county’s GP out of hours service. The presentation will include an overview on how out of hours services work in practice and details about how NHS Northamptonshire is ensuring that they commission and deliver safe, high quality out of hours services, in response to the recommendations set out in the Department of Health’s publication General Practices Out of Hours Services Project, which seeks to consider and assess current OOH arrangements.

Chairman of the health and adult social services scrutiny committee Councillor Gina Ogden said: “After concern has been raised nationally, we want to make sure that Northamptonshire will provide good quality out of hours services.

“Every week, hundreds of people rely on the out of hours services provided in the county to help them deal with emergencies and the challenges that life throws at them.

“This is an issue that may affect everyone in the county and by looking at it in detail through the scrutiny process we have the opportunity to influence the long-term development of out of hours services in Northamptonshire. We want to ensure that the services being offered meet their needs and are the best they can be, and I welcome the participation of our partners in this very important discussion.”

The health and adult social services scrutiny committee meeting will take place at 10am on 24th March at County Hall in Northampton.