NHS England’s out-of-hours services provided by GPs has been blasted by MPs. It has been deemed to possess ‘ineffective’ oversight and ‘conflicts of interest’ in out-of-hour GP services.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said NHS England had ‘not provided effective’ oversight of the quality of service out-of-hours GPs were providing and whether it was value for money.
The MPs further stated that patient satisfaction with out-of-hours services varies ‘significantly and unacceptably’ throughout the country.
Margaret Hodge, MP and chair of PAC said, ‘A clear understanding of the reasons for variation and whether it can be justified is essential, but NHS England could not provide information on the specific reasons for variation or on the costs of a key component of the service, the hourly rates paid to GPs.’ Hodge added, ‘Existing contracts provide incentives for A&E to hang onto patients and do not provide incentives to encourage out-of-hours services to take on more patients.’
Th report advised that the Department of Health and NHS England must develop information to know whether there will be enough GPs to cope with the growing workload. It has also been suggested that a new incentives scheme be put in place to ensure all health care professionals have motivation to provide a more consistent health care treatment experience overall.