NHS Norfolk puts out-of-hours GP service out to tender

The out-of-hours doctor service in Norfolk is to be put out to tender after being provided by the East of England Ambulance Service since 2007.

NHS Norfolk plans to award a three-year contract to start on 29 August 2012.

Bidders will be able to offer new ways of delivering care providing they meet time targets for treating each patient.

"We have an opportunity to test the market and invite innovative ideas from suitably-qualified organisations," NHS Norfolk director Nikki Cocks said.

"We have worked very closely with the new GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Norfolk to set the specifications."

NHS Norfolk declined to comment on the likely value of the contract as the amount each applicant would charge to run the service forms part of their bid.

The out of hours period runs from 18:00 to 08:00 Monday to Thursday and from 18:30 on Fridays to 08:00 Monday mornings and throughout every Bank Holiday.

Bidders are asked to abide by strict quality and governance standards.

Access to services must also be simple and provided to meet the needs of vulnerable patients and people with special needs, language difficulties or impaired hearing.

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