NHS Greater Glasgow is taking forward a wide range of plans to further develop and improve general medical out-of-hours services.
These include the introduction of a new out-of-hours minor illness service and a new IT system which allows GPs to transfer important patient information to their out-of-hours colleagues. In addition, a number of options to further improve existing contingency and emergency planning arrangements are also being explored.
Dr Norrie Gaw, Clinical Director of NHS GEMS, said: "Glasgow has a well established and highly regarded out-of-hours service and we are very fortunate to have a large pool of GPs who are willing to work out-of-hours.
"Although we are not experiencing problems in staffing our GP out-of-hours services we are keen to explore new ways to improve our ability to respond to periods of exceptionally high demand and further develop our contingency arrangements for major outbreaks such as a flu epidemic. "
One option which NHS Greater Glasgow is currently exploring is the possibility of developing a partnership with a small number of German GPs who would be available, if required, to provide additional cover during public holiday weekends and traditional holiday periods such as the Glasgow Fair fortnight, when many people, including Glasgow GPs, like to take their summer holidays.
NHS Greater Glasgow recently arranged for a German GP to work with the Glasgow general medical out-of-hours services on a trial basis. This visit proved very successful and NHS Greater Glasgow is planning to arrange a second follow-up visit during October 2005.
Dr Norrie Gaw, Clinical Director of NHS GEMS, said: "If this follow-up visit goes well then the plan would be arrange for a single German doctor to work with the service once a fortnight so that we can build up a small pool of staff who are experienced in working with our out-of-hours service and are available for us to call on in the future to provide additional cover, if we ever require it.
Under the arrangements being considered German GPs would be responsible for their own travel arrangements and costs. They would receive the equivalent rate of pay received by Glasgow GPs for working out-of-hours and the cost of any accommodation required. For further information contact NHS Greater Glasgow Communications Department on 0141 201 4429.