Out of Hours service for Cornwall

2nd October

We are disappointed to learn that, again, Cornwall's Out Of Hours GP provision is to be put out to tender. We had really thought that the early termination of Serco's contract and the many problems experienced with this private company, would have given NHS Kernow the opportunity to 'reclaim' the service, enabling patients to have access to their own local GP practices with seamless care. When you consider that most of the week is actually 'out of hours', it makes much more sense to strive to have access to the same teams of doctors at evenings and weekends as during the working week. It is also clear that patients prefer not to be passed from one organisation to another once the evening or weekend arrives.
We are very apprehensive about another tendering exercise which will be costly and may lead to a repeat of the SERCO experience. Cornwall really does not need another liaison with a private company.  There are enough NHS providers of care already, with GPs, the ambulance service, community services and the acute hospitals' Trust. We can only hope that, somehow, our local GPs will be able to put together an integrated service with the providers already in place, and which will meet their patients' needs and provide continuity of care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.