New GP out of hours service

A NEW out-of-hours GPs service will swing into action across east Suffolk this weekend, but health officials are keen to reassure people the standards of health care they receive will not change.

A NEW out-of-hours GPs service will swing into action across east Suffolk this weekend, but health officials are keen to reassure people the standards of health care they receive will not change.

From this Friday onwards a change to GP's contracts will mean they are no longer obliged to work at weekends.

Instead the three Primary Care Trusts in east Suffolk, will take over responsibility for out-of-hours care, working with Suffolk Doctors On Call to provide the service.

James Murphy, chairman of the emergency care network for east Suffolk Primary Care Trusts, said: "We have an excellent out of hours service in the county with Suffolk Doctors on Call at the moment, and thanks to the support of GPs throughout east Suffolk, there will be a seamless changeover on Friday."

In the evenings patients whose conditions not deemed to be urgent enough for a doctor to come out to them, will be directed to one of five centres across east Suffolk as they always have been.

At weekends they will no longer be able to go for urgent appointments at their local GPs but will instead be directed to their nearest local centre.

Most Read

In Ipswich there will be no change as a pilot project has been running on Saturday mornings since November.

All patients needing to be seen will be directed to the Riverside medical centre in Landseer Road.

Patients should continue to ring their own surgery number at all times of day and night, and throughout the weekend, to ensure they get the advice they need.

Mr Murphy said: "We want to build on this success throughout East Suffolk."

The changeover is a result of a new national GP contract called General Medical Services (GMS).

This gives GPs the opportunity to opt out of providing care out of hours, and gives Primary Care Trusts the responsibility for organising this care.

How will the new service affect you? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter