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Worries about the prognosis for Shropshire out-of-hours NHS service
AN initial diagnosis for the future of South Shropshire’s Shropdoc scheme doesn’t look good – but it won’t stop supporters going for a second opinion.
There is concern for the future of the emergency out-of-hours GP call service once the new NHS 111 service is introduced.
“With Shropdoc you make a call and a doctor or nurse will call you back to discuss the problem and make an assessment,” said Peter Corfield, chairman of Ludlow Hospital League of Friends.
“But with 111 direct, a non-professional will make what could be a lifeor- death decision based upon your answers to a matrix of questions.”
He is also worried that – although not strictly a League of Friends issue – there would be implications for the new community hospital and health village on the Ludlow Eco Park and the “tick box” approach that 111 represents.
Mr Corfield added: “I recently had cause to ring 999 for an ambulance on the advice of my surgery. When I called I was faced with a list of questions and it was an age before they could be persuaded to send an ambulance.”
Ludlow Mayor Tony Pound also believes that a top-quality localised out-of-hours GP service must be retained.
“Nobody knows when they are going to be taken ill because it can happen at any time of the day,” said Coun Pound, who has himself recovered from a heart attack.
“It’s an essential life-saving service.
My heart attack happened in the early hours of the morning and fortunately I called an ambulance.”
Shropdoc is a co-operative not-forprofit business run by doctors and other health professionals throughout the county.
It is the place to go if someone believes that they have an urgent but not life-threatening medical condition that cannot wait until their GP surgery opens.
Shropdoc is part of Urgent Health Care UK, a social enterprise and was designated as ‘commendable’ following a recent NHS Audit.
Its future, however, is in doubt because it may not be viable when the new 111 service, which has been run as a pilot in different parts of the country, is rolled out nationally next April.
This will be the number that people call when they need a doctor but do not consider dialling 999 is appropriate.
Philip Dunne MP said that he had held discussions with the NHS about the future of Shropdoc and had asked the proposed new GP-led medical commissioning body to make their position clear.