‘Disappointment’ after Hartlepool misses out on out-of-hours GP fund

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HEALTH chiefs have expressed disappointment that Hartlepool missed out on a fund that will enable patients to see their doctors outside work hours.

Prime Minister David Cameron revealed that more than 7.5 million people will be offered increased access to GPs through extended opening times and new consultation methods using video-phone services, email and phone, thanks to a £50m fund.

But it is only being rolled out to 1,147 practices, and the nearest are in Darlington.

There were 254 national bids for the fund, and 19 were successful. In the north, 77 bids were submitted, but only seven were successful.

An NHS Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group spokesman said: “The CCG supported a consortium of four practices, covering over 40,000 patients in the Hartlepool area, which was supported by the Patient Participation Groups of the practices as well as Healthwatch Hartlepool. It is disappointing that the bid was unsuccessful.”

Shadow Health secretary Andy Burnham said things will continue getting worse for those outside the scheme, adding: “The big problem is it won’t benefit millions.”