Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) are responsible for making sure all patients can access out of hours care.
Some PCTs may provide this healthcare themselves, while others commission other organisations to provide out of hours services on their behalf. This creates slightly different services across the country.
NHS Direct provides some out of hours services, and completes the call answering and clinical assessment for patients who use the service.
This provides callers with prompt access to healthcare and assessments, and refers patients to a range of appropriate partner organisations depending on their clinical need.
Where patients are referred for face to face care, their call details are passed electronically to our partner organisation who will arrange the next stage of clinical care.
All elements of our service comply with the national standards for out of hours care. This ensures that patients accessing their out of hours GP service are answered and assessed effectively.
Meeting these standards makes NHS Direct a safe and reliable provider of out of hours care. Additionally NHS Direct can extend this standard of care to provide Single Point of Access (SPA) schemes. Following the recent Darzi reviews, clinical professionals and commissioners are seeking services that provide one point of contact where information and signposting can be delivered safely and consistently.
NHS Direct has developed significantly in recent years and is equipped and capable to provide this patient focused service.