The NHS out-of-hours (OOH) modernisation programme has set up a dedicated website offering policy and technical information and news updates.
The aim of OOH modernisation is to ensure that, by December 2004, a single phone call to NHS Direct will be the one-stop gateway to out-of-hours healthcare. Where necessary calls will be passed on to the appropriate GP co-operative or deputising service. The December 2004 target, set out in the NHS Plan, was confirmed in the 2003-6 Planning and Priorities Framework.
On the technical front, the Department of Health has established the OOH Technical Links Project, details of which are included in the site. The project’s aims are to:
• Promote the development of an appropriate network of OOH providers capable of linking electronically with NHS Direct;
• Manage and fund the programme of electronic links between OOH providers and NHS Direct;
• Link electronic integration with wider workstreams on clinical integration.
The site also includes a list of exemplar services, recently revised notes on accreditation and reporting for OOH services and an e-mail alert service offering updates on project developments.