Date: 29 Aug 2007
More out-of-hours medical care must be delivered by non-doctors
UNISONScotland, the largest union representing Healthcare staff
today said that more out-of-hours care should be delivered by
properly qualified and paid nurses, paramedics and other health
The union welcomed the Audit Scotland report on NHS Out-of hours
services, and in particular the recognition that more responsibility
needs to be given to other healthcare professionals in order to
ensure that out-of-hours care can be maintained as doctors cease
to deliver it.
Bridget Hunter (UNISON's lead officer for Nursing care) said
"With more and more doctors dropping out of providing out-of-hours
care, it is clear that the most effective way of covering the
essential care is to extend the roles of other health professionals,
such as nurses and paramedics. But if this is to be effective
there must be an increase in the numbers and appropriate training
for these professionals."
"Of course this would place considerable increased responsibility
on these staff, and appropriate resources and recognition must
go hand-in-hand with this increase."
UNISON also said that the increasing use of NHS 24 and the Ambulance
service backed up the need for these developments.
And for structures that assisted them David Forbes, UNISON's
(Regional organiser for the Ambulance service) said "Both the
ambulance service and NHS 24 have had considerable extra demand
placed on them already as patients realise that traditional GP
cover is no longer there. Despite teething problems, the co-ordination
between these services and the link with primary care within Boards
is improving. That needs to continue - especially in rural areas,
as does the increase in the care that can be given by paramedics
and other health professionals in the home."
Note for editors: UNISON organises most occupations in
Scotland's NHS, including nurses, ambulance staff, allied health
professionals, ancillary, senior managers, and admin and clerical
For Further Information Please Contact: Bridget Hunter
(Regional Organiser - Nursing) 07958 120780(m) David Forbes (Regional
Organiser - Ambulance) 0131 226 0059(w) 07985 121 397(m) Chris
Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)