GP out of hours concern

Editor

Your article (2nd October p.18) about deaths following out of hours treatment must raise the question ‘Could this happen in Shropshire?’

It is important to note that both the deaths referred to in your article followed treatment by private companies that were under contract to the NHS. We have also recently heard that patients operated on by a private company under contract to the NHS were  twenty times more likely to have serious complications than those done in NHS hospitals .

Shropshire is fortunate to have its out of hours GP services provided by ShropDoc which uses local, NHS-trained GPs, but we must not be complacent. Shropshire County PCT has placed contracts for both GP services and for investigations with private companies. The contract for investigations was terminated after only four months of a five year contract with a loss of many millions of pounds. Private companies have been criticised for putting cost and profit as a higher priority than quality of service. It is unfortunate that the government is pursuing a policy of creeping privatisation in the NHS that is already damaging the NHS and could ultimately destroy it.

Yours,

Dr Charles West

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