NHS temporarily suspends out of hours care at five centres

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said a GP shortage meant the service had become ‘unsustainable’.

A Scottish health board has temporarily suspended out of hours services at five centres amid a GP shortage.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) said the service has become “unsustainable” and the move is the “only option” to be able to keep providing out of hours care in the short term.

Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Gartnavel Royal Hospital and Easterhouse Health Centre are among those affected.

The remaining two are Greenock Health Centre and the town’s Inverclyde Royal Hospital.

The health board said the temporary arrangement will come into force immediately and means out of hours overnight services will be delivered from centres at Stobhill, Victoria, Royal Alexandra and Vale of Leven hospitals during the week.

These centres will also be open during the evenings and weekends, with the exception of the Vale of Leven.

Key considerations in choosing the four core sites were said to be attendance figures, site access and capacity.

The GP home visiting service is unaffected.

NHSGGC said fewer GPs are available to work out of hours following “significant challenges” caused by national changes to pensions as well as “local operational issues”, leading to short notice centre suspensions.

A recruitment campaign for GPs and other medics is under way in a bid to provide a long-term solution to the out of hours problems.

Other measures being implemented include a review of GP pay scales and increased use of technology.

Kerri Neylon, NHSGGC primary care lead GP, said: “A number of contributory factors mean the current out of hours service has become unsustainable.

“Temporary consolidation of services is the only option which will enable us to continue providing this crucial service in the immediate future.

“This formalises the ad hoc arrangement which has increasingly become the norm in recent months and provides patients and staff with certainty and reliability.

“We are absolutely committed to delivering a long-term sustainable, safe and reliable out of hours service to patients across Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

“The long-term delivery model, which uses new technology, alongside smarter recruitment is demonstrably the best way to meet demand.

“We are working to implement those changes as quickly as possible and we are acutely aware of the need to do so. There will be regular updates on progress.”

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