Out-of-hours GP services provide urgent primary care when GP surgeries are typically closed. Out-of-hours GP services in England handled an estimated 5.8 million cases in 2013-14, including 3.3 million face-to-face patient consultations. The number of cases has fallen by a third from an estimated 8.6 million in 2007-08, which is likely to relate mainly to the introduction of NHS 111.
Out-of-hours GP services cost an estimated £400 million in 2013-14. An estimated 90 per cent of GP practices have opted-out of providing out-of-hours care. Where this is the case, NHS England has delegated responsibility for commissioning services to the 211 clinical commissioning groups. For the remaining 10 per cent of GP practices which have retained responsibility for out-of-hours care, NHS England commissions services directly from the practices.
This inquiry will challenge the Department and NHS England on their oversight and assurance of out-of-hours GP services, on the performance of the system and on the level of public awareness of out-of-hours GP services.