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Fresh Fears Over Cornwall's Out of Hours Doctors

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3:04pm 1st October 2012

There are fresh fears over the Duchy's out of hours doctors’ service, as it is revealed one night earlier this year there was just one GP on duty for the whole of Cornwall.

SERCO says it was a one-off and came about because the other doctor on duty had gone home sick.

A statement said:

“The Cornwall out of Hours service continues to be highly rated by the people of Cornwall.  The service uses a range of roles to provide out of hours services including Emergency Care Practitioners (ECPs), Nurse Practitioners (NPs) and GPs.  The numbers of each of these categories varies depending on a range of factors including seasonality and the day of the week, but currently always includes between two and seven GPs and five ECPs and NPs.  In addition we always have at least one nurse on triage duty.  On the night of 29 May there were a total of five clinical and medical staff, each one in a car, covering Cornwall.  They were only required to make a total of eight house calls that night between midnight and 8am and all patients were seen well within the National Standards.”

But campaigners are not happy.

Joe McKenna speaks for Health Initiative Cornwall:

“It brings up so many concerns I’d be here for hours talking about it. It just does not make sense by any standard that I’m aware off. Even with a minimum of two on, that is a quarter of a million per doctor.

“If you have need for a doctor at 3am in the morning you’re going to be a little bit concerned if he’s also responsible for 250 thousand other patients.”

3:04pm 1st October 2012

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