Published: 12/08/2004, Volume II4, No. 5918 Page 5

Primary care trust junior managers should not be left to introduce new out-of-ours services without adequate support from senior colleagues, the Commons health select committee has warned.

The report into new out-of-hours arrangements, introduced as part of the new general medical services GP contract, expressed 'concern' that in some cases senior managers were not taking control of 'this critical transition'.

The committee heard evidence from the Royal College of GPs and British Medical Association that managing the new services had been delegated to inexperienced managers.

The report also heard evidence that new out-of-hours arrangements were leading to increased attendances at accident and emergency departments. And concern was expressed over the likely cost of out-of-hours under the new arrangements.

NHS Confederation chief executive Dr Gill Morgan said that although primary care trusts may experience 'significant pressure' in the run-up to the end-of-year deadline for taking responsibility for out-of-hours services, she was confident they would secure a 'safe and effective' service for patients.