Media Links

The Primary Care Foundation and its three partners are frequently quoted in the national media and health press.  Below, you can find links to some of the stories over the last two years.


Making Time in General Practice - 5th October 2015

Call to cut GP red tape - The Times – Scotland (Print)

Call to cut GP red tape - The Times – Ireland (Print)

Call to cut GP red tape - The Times (Print)

Quarter of visits to GPs are wasted, study finds - The Guardian (Print)

Send ill to 'well-being coaches', says NHS - The Daily Telegraph (Print)

Cut red tape to free up GP appointments - Western Morning News – Devon (Print)

Quarter of doctors' appointments wasted – report - The

Today at the Conservative party conference – as it happened – The Guardian.

Cut red tape to free up GP appointments, urges report -

Cut red tape to free up GP appointments, urges report -

Cut red tape to free up GP appointments, urges report - Guernsey Press

Prime Minister pledges to deliver 7-day GP services by 2020 - GOV.UK

Cut red tape to free up GP appointments, urges report - MSN UK

Prime minister announces new contract for large GP providers - Health Service Journal


BBC News

‘GP out-of-hours variation unacceptable, says government’ BBC, 2 February, 2010

Newsnight - Out-of-hours GP service 'failing' BBC, 14 January 2010



Out-of-hours GP services visualised by Primary Care Foundation ...

Apr 19, 2012 ... How does your local area fare for out-of-hours GP services? This Primary Care Foundation graphic illustrates the key statistics across England.

NHS patients in England face 'confusing mix' of urgent healthcare The Guardian November 2011

Out-of-hours GP services not up to NHS standards, research shows The Guardian November 19 2010

Patients should feel welcome at A&E The Guardian March 5 2010

NHS trusts 'breaking law' on out-of-hours GP services The Guardian February 2 2010

Out-of-hours GP services to be monitored more closely The Guardian January 26 2010


Health Service Journal

Integrated hotlines could exclude smaller providers

19 May, 2014 | By Sophie Barnes

Plans by clinical commissioning groups to jointly procure NHS 111 and out of hours hotlines have sparked concerns that smaller providers could be squeezed out of the market.


A&E attendance figures cast doubt on Hunt's out of hours theory

18 September, 2013 | By Dave West

Patients of GP practices that remain directly responsible for out of hours primary care may attend accident and emergency more often than others, analysis suggests. However, the research also indicates they may be admitted to hospital as an emergency less regularly.


Out of hours contracts that aren't out of ideas

7 June 2013 | By Alison Moore

CCGs must work hard writing out of hours contracts that deliver exactly what they want.


Exclusive: DH 'pressure contributed to 111 failure', Alliance report finds

13 May, 2013 | By Sarah Calkin

 “Unprecedented” central pressure and a procurement process focused more on cost than quality were two of the biggest factors in the failure of NHS 111’s launch, a new report has concluded.


The whole-system future for integrated urgent care

13 May, 2013 | By Rick Stern

It’s time to act so A&E is treated as an integral part of the wider system rather than a misused backstop, says Rick Stern


Productivity is low at urgent care centres

25 October, 2012 | By Ben Clover

Urgent care centres appear to have low productivity rates and lack clear data allowing commissioners to tell whether they are value for money, according to a report published today.


Out of hours performance data goes online

19 April 2012 | By David Williams

A fourfold variation in demand for GP out of hours services has emerged in the first detailed data to allow for comparisons between areas.


PCTs need to up game on out of hours coding Health Service Journal, 23 November, 2010 

Many primary care trusts do not always record whether out of hours patients go on to hospital and need to improve clinical coding in this area, according to a report by the Primary Care Foundation. 

Out of hours performance variation to be made public Health Service Journal, 6 October, 2010 

Primary care trusts are to be named and shamed for the first time on the performance of their out of hours provider. 

GPs to get commissioning powers - but scant details so far Health Service Journal, 20 May, 2010 

The government’s formal coalition agreement confirms GPs will be given commissioning powers - but leaves unanswered questions over their precise responsibilities.

A&E alternatives ‘confuse’ the public Health Service Journal, 25 March 2010

Urgent care in numbers National In 2007-08, 91 PCTs declared no patients attending walk-in centres, according to Healthcare Commission urgent care review figures Of those remaining, walk-in centre use...

Urgent and Emergency Care - conference sessions Health Service Journal 15 March 2010

A business critical briefing from HSJ’s Urgent and Emergency Care conference

Out of hours GP variations 'unacceptable' Health Service Journal  2 February 2010  

An unacceptable variation exists between doctors’ out of hours services around the country, Mike O’Brien has admitted.

GP phone-line jams create more hospital admissions Health Service Journal, 12 June 2009

Few things are more frustrating than an automated message saying your phone call is in a queue and will be answered shortly - or just getting the engaged tone. When you are ill, it can be rather more ...

Study reveals three-fold cost variation in GP out of hours services Health Service Journal, 8 April, 2009 

GP out of hours services are costing more than three times more per patient in some parts of England than in others … 

Clinical leadership in out of hours services Health Service Journal, 7 October, 2008 by Rick Stern 

The Department of Health has signalled that it may allow practice-based commissioning consortiums to take over commissioning out of hours services. Rick Stern explains why this would be good for patients and budgets … 

Benchmarking out of hours healthcare Health Service Journal,8 September, 2008 by Kaye McIntosh 

Huge variations in the cost and quality of out of hours healthcare around the country have led to moves to benchmark these services … 



NHS England to review RCGP proposals to take back out-of-hours care for vulnerable patients

News Article | 01 July 2013

NHS England will consider RCGP proposals for GPs to take back responsibility for the out-of-hours care of the 5% most vulnerable patients, Pulse has learnt.


Analysis: What are the options for taking back out-of-hours care?

Feature | 01 July 2013

With all the signs suggesting GPs will be forced to take back some form of 24-hour responsibility for their patients, Sofia Lind looks at the various proposals on the table.


Ten ways CCGs can tackle the urgent care crisis

Feature | 25 June 2013

While political debate still rages over how to solve the crisis in urgent care, CCGs can take practical steps to deal with it, as Alisdair Stirling reports.


How general practice changes can reduce pressure on A&E

Practical Commissioning Article | 31 January 2013

Dr Jeremy Welch explains how his CCG asked practices to look at how they affected A&E attendances and to help reduce demand


CCGs 'must rethink urgent care provision'

News Article | 25 October 2012

CCGs have been urged to focus on developing ‘fully joined up’ urgent care rather than commissioning services separately, to address ‘wide variations’ in the current system.


Not-for-profit GP providers cheaper and rated higher than private out-of-hours firms

News Article | 19 April 2012

Exclusive Private out-of-hours services are more expensive and rated worse by patients than those delivered by not-for-profit alternatives such as GP co-operatives, a major Pulse analysis reveals. How does your local GP out-of-hours provider measure up?


Survival Guide: Commissioning out-of-hours care (1 CPD hour)

CPD | 17 February 2012

Rick Stern explains how GPs can commission out-of-hours care. Full CPD module


The urgent care challenge – what works?

Comment | 08 February 2012

CCGs must tackle the major commissioning challenges now if they are to succeed. Here, Emma Wilkinson looks at redesigning urgent care


GP commissioners bemoan 'top-down' 111 rollout

News Article | 25 January 2012

GP commissioners are not being consulted on the development of NHS 111, even though they stand to inherit local contracts for the service from PCTs, a new survey reveals.


Up to a quarter of GP out-of-hours shifts left unfilled

News Article | 18 January 2012

Exclusive A quarter of GP out-of-hours shifts are going unfilled in some parts of the country, leaving gaping holes in on-call cover as providers struggle to find staff, a Pulse investigation reveals.


Cost of 111 bids forces out-of-hours providers to partner up

News Article | 28 October 2011

Exclusive Out-of-hours providers are being forced to form large partnerships to tender for contracts to run the new 111 urgent care number, amid fears that ‘prohibitive costs’ are preventing smaller providers from launching independent bids.


Gulf in 111 out-of-hours impact revealed

News Article | 18 October 2011

Non-emergency 111 phone service pilots have been piling work on GP out of hours services in some trial areas, sparking fears that the alternative to 999 might lead to a surge in GPs workload.


Focus on…urgent care

Practical Commissioning Article | 25 April 2011

The health service reforms have seen GP commissioners quickly identify urgent care as an area on which to focus, not least because of the large potential savings that can be made. Henry Clay of the Primary Care Foundation explores what urgent care involves


Commissioning download: Benchmarking out-of-hours care Resources 17 Feb 2011

Employing GP in A&E is 'efficient' and speeds care News article 07 Oct 2010

NHS Direct nurse cuts to 'put safety at risk' News article 09 Jun 2010

Polysystem plans 'may not deliver savings' Pulse 14 May 2010

DH set to scale back plan to shift A&E to GPs Pulse 09 Mar 10

DH report shoots down evidence for shift of work from A&E to GPs Pulse 05 Mar 10

Reaction: Government report into OOH care Pulse 04 Feb 10

Government launches pilots of 111 number for urgent care Pulse 21 Dec 09

Government rules out new access targets Pulse 25 Jun 09

'Reserve one third of slots for urgent care' GPs advised Pulse, 1 May 09

Scrutinise your local out-of-hours service Pulse 17 Sep 08



GP Newspaper

Will GPs have to take back out-of-hours?

9 May 2013

Jeremy Hunt has blamed the 2004 contract for increasing pressure on A&E. Neil Roberts looks at what this could mean for GPs.


GPs urged to revamp 'confusing' NHS urgent care

25 October 2012

NHS 'urgent care centres' are underused, confusing to the public and poorly linked to other health services, a report has warned.


CCG lead on why she became involved with commissioning

28 May 2012

With GP leaders warning of a lack of female involvement in commissioning, Neil Durham interviewed a CCG lead on urgent care and commissioning.


Tool comparing out-of-hours cost and patient experience launched

18 April 2012

The cost and patient experience of out-of-hours services across England can be compared using an online tool launched today.


Exclusive: Safety fears spark GP call to halt NHS 111 service

31 January 2012

Exclusive - Data from leaked DH report highlight rise in emergency hospital admissions in NHS 111 pilot areas.


DoH report backs incentivising practices to cut urgent care

22 November 2011

Practices should receive financial incentives for cutting their patients' use of urgent care, according to the author of a DoH-sponsored report.


Expert warns out-of-hours primary care tariff price 'undermines integration'

19 September 2011

Fixing a tariff price for primary care out-of-hours services could undermine their integration with other NHS services, an expert has warned.


Out-of-hours tariff plan may undermine NHS integration 22 September 2011 by Nick Bostock

Out-of-hours providers should benchmark GPs - Foundation report calls for GPs to be compared on performance and productivity GP Newspaper 25 November 2010

How NHS 111 will fit with urgent care.  What will the government's NHS 111 service mean for GP practices and commissioning consortia?  GP Newspaper 25 November 2010

Out-of-hours providers should benchmark clinicians' performance and productivity against their peers, the Primary Care Foundation has said. GP Newspaper 19 November 2010

Urgent care - Improving out-of-hours care.  GP consortia must hold urgent care providers to account and push for improvements, says Rick Stern. GP Newspaper 18 November 2010

'No proof' that GPs in A&E cut costs or admissions GP Newspaper 11 March 2010

No evidence to support GPs' role in A&E, report finds GP Newspaper, 05 March 2010

Primary care - The future of out-of-hours care GP newspaper, 04 February 2010

Out-of-hours providers to face public ratings report GP newspaper, 29 January 2010

Measure for out of hours 'works' GP Newspaper, 15 May 2009

GPs urged to leave third of appointments free GP Newspaper 05 May 2009

DoH urges practices to improve urgent care GP Newspaper, 19 February 2009 

Urgent care best practice sought  GP Newspaper, 23 May 2008

About Us

The Primary Care Foundation was established to support the development of best practice in primary and urgent care.  The three Directors bring different skills and perspectives to understanding primary and urgent health care - for more details click below:

David Carson

Rick Stern

Henry Clay



Latest News

New on-line registration for the potentially avoidable appointments audit

The Primary Care Foundation were selected by NHS England to further improve and automate the audit of potentially avoidable appointments. We are now building a new website with Method Analytics that will make it much easier for any practice to register online, will simplify data collection for clinicians, and will allow for instant reporting on results. The reports will be much easier to understand and will signpost other support. And it will remain free to use for all practices in England.

We are now ready to go live with a new ‘test’ site. We are confident it is already easier to use but we are keen to get any feedback from practices before the new website is fully up and running.

If you are a practice in England and you want to register, CLICK HERE  and click on ‘register here to create a practice audit!’ You will be guided through registration and how to set up your clinicians to take part in the audit.  This is a new test site, so if you notice anything that doesn’t look right, or could be made easier, just let us know.  And the same for your clinicians as they enter data – any feedback at the moment – good or bad – would be really helpful … just email us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


What do we mean by an ‘avoidable appointment?

The latest blog by Rick Stern ‘If only …’ explores the idea of avoidable appointments, what practices have gained from the audit, and what might be possible with further investment in general practice. It is available HERE and will also be published in Health Care Leader.


Are there any simple lessons for practices looking to improve access?

A feature article in Management in Practice by Rick Stern reviews what we have learned from working with over 1,500 practices across the UK – you can read the full article HERE  


Integrated Urgent Care – how to make NHS 111 work

A lead article for Health Care Leader by Henry Clay describes a financial and capacity model developed for NHS England, the potential benefits and pitfalls, and what we have learned from working with a dozen areas to apply the model. The article is available at HERE and a fuller version with a number of explanatory graphs can be downloaded HERE


Integrated Urgent Care – opportunity for support to your locality

We have developed a financial model for the Integrated Urgent Care Team at NHS England that focuses on the NHS 111 and OOH ‘front end’ to an integrated urgent care system (but also looks at the cost of onward referrals to other services). This is proving to be an invaluable tool for both commissioners and providers. It is now available to use and NHS England have also agreed to support some sites to setup and work through the model with PCF’s Henry Clay who developed the model. For further information please contact Henry on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


We are now supporting over 1,500 practices across the UK to manage access and urgent care

Our support for general practices looking to improve access for patients and streamline the management of urgent care continues to expand. Based on a web based tool, developed out of our work commissioned by the Department of Health, we collect practice data for one week and prepare a report for each practice looking at how you compare to others and explore what this means for making practical changes in the way you work. We are regularly improving the format of our reports for practices based on constant feedback. If you would like to see an example report, CLICK HERE.  If you want to know more about how we might work with you please contact Rick Stern on  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call on 07709 746771.