Health and Social Care Board seeks views on the future development of GP Out-of-Hours Services

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The Health and Social Care Board has this week launched a public consultation on the Strategic Framework for GP Out-of-Hours Services.

The purpose of the Framework is to facilitate development of the future provision of GP Out-of-Hours services across Northern Ireland.

The Framework focuses on how access to GP Out-of Hours services can be simplified and where opportunities to align these services with other health care services can be maximised and made efficient whilst also ensuring that safe and effective GP Out-of-Hours Services are available to all across our population.

John Compton, Chief Executive at the Health and Social Care Board said: “The Health and Social Care Board is responsible for commissioning GP Out-of-Hours for Northern Ireland.

“These services are a vital component of the health and social care system. As a first point of contact for the public they provide urgent advice, care and treatment at times when GP surgeries are closed. To date, significant improvements have been implemented in relation to processes, commissioning and quality standards for service delivery.

“The consultation on the Strategic Framework complements and enhances the work already completed and provides further opportunities to improve services. It also reflects the need for GP Out-of-Hours to evolve and develop in order to accommodate the changing health care system in Northern Ireland.”

The recently published ‘Transforming Your Care’ report proposes changes to the way in which health services are delivered in local communities.

The need to provide the right care in the right place at the right time is a key principle of this change and the development of GP Out-of-Hours services across Northern Ireland will be an essential component. This public consultation will enable health and social care staff, the public and key stakeholders to contribute their views to the future design and configuration of GP Out-of-Hours Services.

The consultation period will run for 13 weeks until Friday 28 September 2012 and consultation documentation can be accessed in the Consultations section of the www.hscboard.hscni.net website.

Alternatively the documentation can be requested by email at ooh.consultation@hscni.net or by telephone on 028 9055 3721 or textphone on 18001 028 9055 3721.