New Out Of Hours GP Service in the Duchy

A replacement for Cornwall's 'failing' out of hours GP service will start on the first of June.

NHS Kernow's announced a consortium called Cornwall Health beat off competition, who'll be led by Devon Doctors, with Kernow Health.

Devon Doctors is a GP-led social enterprise. Kernow Health is a Community Interest Company owned by the GP practices of Cornwall.

It comes after they ended their contract with Serco 17 months early after the CQC criticised it not meeting national standards, falsifying data and having a "bullying culture".

The Clinical Commissioning Group says the views of clinicians, managers and patient representatives were instrumental in choosing the best provider capable of meeting the needs of the whole population.

These out of hours GP services provide urgent care when a patient’s normal doctors is closed and they have a medical problem which cannot wait until it reopens.

Dr Iain Chorlton, NHS Kernow’s GP lead for out-of-hours, said: “We are delighted that a team of doctors and nurses will provide Cornwall’s new out of hours’ service. They know first-hand what patients need, what works and what we need to do to create a joined-up health and care system.  Invaluable insight of delivering a similar service in Devon will also help strengthen our partnership in the north and east of the county.

“This new service will provide high quality, joined-up, safe and sustainable medical cover and help reduce unnecessary hospital admissions, re-admissions and attendance at the emergency department, which is critical to getting the system back on track.”

Andrew Abbott, Director of Strategy at NHS Kernow, said: “The GP out-of-hours service is a critical part of the local urgent care system and we will be monitoring it very closely to ensure that it provides the outcomes that patients expect and deserve.”

Dr Mike Ellis, Cornwall Health’s Medical Director and a Penryn GP said: “We are pleased to be given the opportunity to work with the practices of Cornwall to provide this service. We believe that it will enable us to offer more integrated care, uniting out of hours with primary care and other local health services. It should be good news for Cornish patients and practices, as well as the urgent care services of Cornwall and Devon.”

People will be able to access urgent care in the same way as they do now.

When the new out of hours service is rolled out patients are asked to still call 111 in non-emergency situations -  a 24 hours a day, 365 days a year service where appropriate help will be arranged for them.

We're being reminded there are alternative local health care services available without calling 111.

  • Visit a local pharmacist for confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common minor illnesses and complaints such as allergies, minor cuts, bruises and skin conditions. People can just drop in to see a pharmacist and many have private consultation areas.
  • Maintain a well-stocked medicine cabinet. People who take regular prescription medicines should ensure they have a sufficient supply from their own doctor.
  • Minor injuries units in Cornwall at places like Bodmin, Newquay and Bude can deal with ailments like cuts and sprains.
  • For serious medical emergencies – such as chest pain, stroke, severe abdominal pain, severe bleeding, severe breathing difficulties, major broken bones and serious head injuries – go to A&E or dial 999.

Out of hours provision on the Isles of Scilly will remain the same and is unaffected by rollout of the new service in Cornwall.

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