According to a recent article by UK’s leading medical monthly publication Pulse, GPs will not be allowed to completely close and divert calls to an out-of-hours organisation within core hours under new rules being developed by NHS England for in-hours closing.
The article states that NHS England is working on a national policy that will ‘allow area teams to apply consistent criteria’ when concluding what level of access is a contractual requirement, and a senior NHS official said the policy is likely to demand GPs provide services like appointment booking, hospital support and repeat prescriptions at all times during core hours.
As it stands, practices holding GMS contracts can close during core hours as long as they have measures in place that meet the ‘reasonable needs of patients’, which GP leaders have said allows them to close for training purposes.
Deputy medical director Dr Mike Bewick said NHS England is trying to stop ‘anomalies’ hindering patient access to routine primary care and that practices should retain at least a phone service during core hours. Under the policy, area teams will be advised to use feedback from the GP patients survey to determine whether a practice is providing sufficient access to patients. Click here to read the full article.
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If you want to ensure you are meeting NHS phone access requirements contact Opus Healthcare on 0800 019 6590 or alternatively email email@example.com