Out-of-hours GP services in Co. Durham may be cut

Out of hours service may be trimmed down in County Durham thanks to a lack of patients booking them, according to The Northern Echo

Due to a lack of uptake, out-of-hours GP services in County Durham could now be cut down.

Extended hours have been operating in GP hubs across the Durham dales, Easington and Segdgefield, since April 2017.

Now, the local CCG wants to actually reduce the number of hubs, with the percentage of some hubs being used as low as 20%.

Dr Stewart Findlay, chief officer of the CCG said: “Our priority is to commission services that reflect the health needs of our entire population. It is clear from the numbers we are seeing in the current nine hubs that many of the appointments we made available were not being utilised, and this is simply not a good use of NHS resources or the valuable skills of our healthcare professionals.

“We believe that the changes we are proposing will ensure that people will be seen at the right place, by the right healthcare professional at a time and location that will be convenient for them.”

It is now being proposed that hubs in Barnard Castle and Stanhope should cease to operate.

A spokesperson for the CCG commented: “The demand on services is much greater in Bishop Auckland, a main town in the Durham dales area, with good transport links.

“However, we do not wish to disadvantage the more rural sites and therefore, where needed, we are committed to bring services to those patients, improve patient transport and listen to anything that patients think we have not considered.

A consultation closes on Wednesday, December 19.

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