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Newham CCG chair and GP Dr Zuhair Zarifa explains out-of-hours GP service

PUBLISHED: 10:46 20 August 2014 | UPDATED: 11:42 20 August 2014

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Getting speedy medical advice and assurance from a clinician when a loved one is ill is what residents want.

Research shows that nationally people make more than 1.5million visits to A&E when all they really needed was guidance.

Another 450,000 people leave A&E before being seen by a doctor or nurse.

Together these account for one in eight of the 15.5m A&E visits nationally.

With the cost of each A&E assessment costing about £68, those only ending in advice cost the NHS more than £100 million a year.

In Newham there is a way to save both your time and that of the A&E department.

If you or a loved one feels unwell, you can get advice from a GP at the Newham out-of-hours GP service.

I want people to know about the service as according to a National Audit Office report only one in four people know how to access GP out-of-hours services.

It also reported that people who don’t know about the service are more likely to visit A&E out-of-hours and on weekends for complaints such as the common cold and also diarrhoea.

These conditions can be concerning, especially when you are caring for a loved one, but they are not life-threatening.

It’s important only people with emergency medical conditions visit A&E.

It can be distressing to see a loved one in pain when you’re not sure what to do.

Because the GPs at NHS Newham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) know how difficult it can be we have developed the out-of hours GP service to give residents advice, support and access to GP services outside of normal practice hours.

The service, run by local GPs, offers over-the-phone consultations and home visits.

It is available for registered patients when their GP practice is closed and for people who are not registered with a GP 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

A report from the health and care watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, said that patients who use the Newham GP out-of-hours service find it easy to access.

They said that the GPs were polite and respectful.

We are pleased with the reported quality of the service.

As a CCG we strive to commission quality healthcare for everyone in Newham.

For medical advice out-of-hours call 020 7511 8880.

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