A HOSPITAL campaigner and Labour member has written of her shock that a 'private sector company' is running out-of-hours GP care in the area.

She says the fact that the Buckinghamshire Urgent Care now staffs and runs a new unit at Wycombe flies in the face of the campaigning done to keep services at the hospital by residents in the area.

Specialist doctors have moved to an expanded A&E ward at Stoke Mandeville, while the new Minor Injury and Illness Unit opened it’s doors at Wycombe at the start of October.

Last week we reported that two GPs - one based at the MIIU and another ‘on the road’ - would provide out-of-hours care for the area.

BUC is a partnership between two local GP provider companies - Vale Health Limited and Chiltern Health Limited - along with Harmoni Limited.

Linda Derrick, Chair of Health Policy Group for the Wycombe Labour Party hit out at the fact that only one GP may be at a permanently stationed base during these hours.

She said: "We find it incredible that, in practice, we only have one GP for the whole of Bucks for its GP out- of-hours service. Is this really true? If so, how long does it take to get a GP to a patient at home out of hours?"

She also added: "So the result of all the campaigning for an emergency centre at Wycombe Hospital is to get a minor injuries and illness unit run by a private company for profit. That is not what we thought the campaign was all about. This is not we suspect why thousands of Wycombe residents signed the petition."

She went on to question how and why BUC was chosen.

Mike Barradell-Smith, chairman of Buckinghamshire Urgent Care, said: "Our out of hours clinical staffing levels are flexible and vary according to demand. Our assessment of demand on the service is based on carefully analysed historic trends which give us an accurate picture of when peaks and troughs occur. This enables us to provide a resilient, responsive service.

"Our clinical team comprises a mix of GPs, Advanced Nurse Practitioners and Emergency Nurse Practitioners, though only the GPs carry out home visits"

He added that routine home visits must be completed within six hours, that urgent visits must be made within two hours and that ambulances would attend emergency situations.

Jon Hanlon, spokesman for the NHS Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Cluster, said: ‘The organisation (BUC)was chosen following a thorough bid process, conducted by the PCT (Primary Care Trust) with CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) input.

"All CCGs are required to abide by stringent policies and practices to ensure that there is no conflict of interest when they are commissioning health services.

"‘The GP out of hours service will soon be integrated with the MIIU, offering a wide range of out of hours diagnosis and treatment for patients. This will use GPs and nurses to provide the service, and will be staffed according to demand."

He added that several GP practices in Bucks make their own arrangements for out of hours services, which are provided by other organisations.