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Huge variation in out of hours spending

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The Patients’ Association has expressed concern over large differences in spending on out of hours care between regions

The Patients’ Association have identified wide variations in spending and poor patient satisfaction with out of hours care.

Information obtained by the association through Freedom of Information Act requests and the National GP Patient Survey show that the lowest spending PCT pays just £1.50 per patient on out of hours care, while the biggest spenders pay over £20.00.

Patients Association director Katherine Murphy said: “These figures aren’t an exact science. There will be some PCTs that didn’t do a very good job of negotiating their contracts or calculating what the service really costs them. Some PCTs will have large rural populations which can be more expensive. But common sense would tell you that this degree of variation is worrying - it is hard to understand how one PCT might be spending 16 times more on out of hours care than another.”

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