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Brown's promises on out-of-hours GP services ring hollow, following tragic death

May 29, 2007 9:00 AM

The death of a woman suffering from septicaemia has put Gordon Brown under the spotlight over recent reforms of GP contracts.

An inquiry reported this week that 41 year old Penny Campbell died after reporting symptoms to 8 different doctors, and blamed lack of coordination in out-of-hours GP services for the failure to recognise the condition which led to her death in 2005.

In 2004 the government implemented new GP contracts which resulted in 9 out of 10 doctors opting out of providing out-of-hours services, leading to widespread concern about the potential consequences.

Andrew Simpson said: "This tragic case has sadly proven that people's concerns with the option for GPs to opt out of weekend and evening duty were well founded.

"Gordon Brown has reacted by saying that the government will look at extending out-of-hours care, even though it is his government that instigated these reforms.

"I appreciate at the time of the reforms in 2004 the government needed to retain qualified and experienced doctors, however, they should also have listened to concerns about the changes to out-of-hours services.

"Now, tragically, this woman has paid with her life. I hope once he takes over as Prime Minister Gordon Brown will listen more carefully when people raise concerns over government reforms, so that more lives are not lost."