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2015 National Retired Members Conference
12 June 2015
Carried as Amended

Conference is extremely alarmed at the confusing muddle and poor level of provision of out-of-hours services in the NHS. This particularly affects elderly and retired people trying to stay living in their own homes and not to burden the diminishing public services, and seeking not to lose all their means by being placed in a care home.

Over the last few years services such as minor injuries clinics, walk-in centres, telephone advice lines, GP out-of-hours access have come and gone with bewildering rapidity, leaving patients – especially elderly people who are more prone to confusion about where to go – bereft of services outside “normal” GP surgery hours, except for a taxi to the A&E which they are chastised in the media for over-using.

GPs are told that they must provide an alternative to A&E at the weekends, but not given sufficient resources to staff it properly. The “post-code lottery” is back with us with a vengeance, with the pattern of available services differing widely across England (the position is different in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland where health services are devolved).

This Conference calls on the National Retired Members’ Committee to work with the National Executive Council and all other appropriate partners to ensure that better, more consistent and well-resourced provision of out-of-hours services, particularly for older people, is high on the list of NHS improvements to be delivered by the new Government, in whose hands the NHS is safe.