Friday 14 May 2010

Using patient experience for improvements to GP out of hours care

GP out of hours care (or the lack of it) is an experience that frequently leads to concerns and negative reviews from patients writing on iWantGreatCare. It provides a good example of how listening closely and carefully to systematic patient experience can inform and highlight concerns before service deterioration leads to patients suffering and adverse outcomes. But of course such an early warning system is only effective if the voice and experience of patients is made central to improving and monitoring the NHS.

Thankfully Andrew Lansley has made reforming the current situation of GP out of hours care an early and clear action for the new Government. This is to be applauded and will be welcomed by the many thousands of patients who each week need quality, compassionate care through the night or at weekends. It will also be welcomed by the huge number of GPs who were opposed to changes which destroyed the UK’s previously excellent out of hours care provision - and who every day see the damage and suffering that second-rate care causes.

It is also worth noting that those doctors who have maintained responsibility and ensured their patients get the very best care out of hours, attract rave reviews, huge praise and thanks from grateful patients and their families.

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