Out-of-hours GPs see almost a third of people who die in Oxfordshire, according to a new study.
The research, published in the journal BMJ Open, found that a ‘significant’ number of people who died in the county had OOH care in the 30 days prior to their death.
A collaboration between Oxford University, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham University, this is the first study in the UK to look at the extent of the role OOH GPs play in end-of-life care.
To do this, researchers examined anonymised patient medical records during a 12-month period in 2014/15.
Study lead Dr Gail Hayward, an Oxford-based GP and academic at Oxford University, said: “Many patients with a terminal illness wish to die at home rather than in hospital.
“It is important our patients receive the best possible access to care at the end of their life, regardless of the time of day or night they make the call for support.
“This study demonstrates the important role Oxfordshire’s OOH GP services play in end-of-life care.”
Across Oxfordshire, the OOH service provides urgent medical care from 6.30pm to 8am during the week, with 24-hour cover provided at weekends and bank holidays.
In 2017/18, 110,000 patients made 145,000 contacts with the service.