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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 April, 2004, 12:53 GMT 13:53 UK
GPs debate out of hours service
GP at work
The role of family doctors is set to change
Concerns about the delivery of out of hours health care have been discussed by Scotland's doctors.

New GP contracts were introduced earlier this month, which will see telephone service NHS 24 handling all out of hours enquiries later this year.

Health boards will recruit staff to provide cover and GPs will have the option of doing shifts as overtime.

Thursday's Scottish Local Medical Committees conference looked at how the contracts were operating so far.

Doctors attending the conference in Clydebank also held a special debate on proposed NHS reforms and the creation of Community Health Partnerships.

There are real concerns among our patients about how the changes to services will affect their care
Dr David Love
BMA Scottish GPs committee
Dr David Love, joint chairman of the BMA's Scottish GPs committee, said it was the first opportunity to hear from GPs across Scotland on how they were dealing with the operation of the new contract.

He said: "The contract was implemented just four weeks ago, therefore it is still early days and there will be a settling in period as doctors and health service managers get used to the new ways of working.

"However, there are real concerns among our patients about how the changes to services will affect their care.

"It is therefore important that we hear from GPs on how the process has been managed and how local health boards are implementing the contract."

GPs across the UK voted to move on to a new contract last year.

The contract was implemented on 1 April, although the ability to transfer responsibility for out of hours care will not come into force until 31 December.

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