Dr John Smith

Dr John Smith has questions over the out-of-hours GP service
Dr John Smith has questions over the out-of-hours GP service

On Maundy Thursday we remembered how Jesus Christ washed and kissed the feet of his disciples.

On Good Friday, I hope you had some sense of how Christ suffered for us and on Easter Sunday experienced some of the joy of the Resurrection, the joy of new life.

I want to tell you what I believe, but I have something else on my mind so I must keep that for another day, although I hope you will realise that my faith in a loving God underpins everything that I do, every fibre of my being.

Instead I want to ask, with you, a series of questions about the doctors out of hours service that provides more than 100 hours of medical cover for each one of us every week.

I ask the questions because I am anxious about it, it makes me nervous, so here goes... who runs the service, where is it based, is it privately owned?

Has the service been downgraded over the years? Are there fewer doctors and nurses working per head of population than, say, five years ago?

Figures please!

Who answers the telephone? Are they qualified? If not do they give advice?

Are the doctors who provide emergency cover fully trained and qualified general practitioners? If not, why not?

If they are covering nights have they been working that day and how far have they travelled?

Are they working the next day? Are they doing more continuous hours than HGV drivers? Is it safe?

What information have they been given about seriously ill patients?

Do they, for example, have the skills to enable dying patients to stay at home and use appropriate medication?

I could go on, we could go on. That’s enough for today.