Private GP outofhours care ‘worse’
GP out-of-hours services provided by commercial companies perform slightly worse than NHS or not-for profit equivalents according to recent analysis.
The research, by Exeter Medical School, used data from the official GP patient survey in England to compare the three types of provider on the cover provided at weekends and between 6.30pm and 8.00am on weekdays.
They were scored on speed, confidence and overall experience, and scores from patients in relation to commercial providers were lower. The score out of 100 for overall experience was 73 for the NHS, 72 for not-for profit and 69 for the commercial sector. The very best individual scores by providers were however seen in the commercial sector.
Professor John Campbell, who led the research involving more than 80,000 patients, says that the results are “statistically significant” and states: “Whether there is profit to be made without compromising patient care is something politicians have to address. The overall trend is that patients report less positive experiences with commercial providers, and we now need to understand why.”
Julie Crossley, a medical injury lawyer at Ashtons Legal, comments: “Experiences with out of hours services vary considerably but lack of patient history and access to their notes can unfortunately result in inappropriate treatment, unnecessary issues and in extreme cases litigation.”
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