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Have your say: Out of Hours health service in Somerset

Have your say: Out of Hours health service in Somerset

The Somerset Out of Hours service is a medical service that runs outside of normal working hours, when people might otherwise contact their local GP.

Somerset's Out of Hours service is being reviewed and we need your stories - and volunteers for Focus Groups and a Review of the Service.

  1. >> Take the survey here

Not quite sure what the Out of Hours Service is? Read this Factsheet!


Patient Representatives wanted for the Out of Hours Service Review:

As part of the Out of Hours Review, a number of Review Workshops will be held across the county. At these workshops people will discuss and generate ideas around what a future GP Out of Hours Service could look like for Somerset. We will be inviting a broad range of individuals and organisations to these events to ensure the widest possible engagement in the process.

The planned dates for this Review are:

  • Wednesday 10 October 2012, Taunton
  • Thursday 8 November 2012, Ilminster
  • Thursday 13 December 2012, Taunton
  • Wednesday 30 January 2013, Yeovil

The Patient Representatives can attend one or more of these workshops.

If you would like to volunteer to be a Patient Representative on these Review Workshops, please email Lucy at the LINk office on for more information.

Tell us your stories about Out of Hours care

Effective and efficient or just downright frustrating? If you've had experience of Out of Hours care in Somerset, please let us know what you thought by typing your story in the text box below. We will pass your story (anonymously) onto the Review Group.

My experience of the Out of Hours service in Somerset ...

Type your story in the box below, then press the button to send:

Out of hours service: Frequently asked Questions

What is the Out of Hours service?

The Somerset Out of Hours service is a medical service that runs outside of normal working hours, when people might otherwise contact their local GP. It is available between 6.30 pm and 8am Monday to Friday and throughout weekends and bank holidays.

The service is for patients who are concerned about their medical condition for example if it has suddenly deteriorated, they feel unable to cope at home or the symptoms are such that they are now outside a care plan ( a care plan is something that many  people with long term conditions will have).

Where is the Out of Hours service in Somerset?

There are six Out of Hours treatment centres across Somerset in Taunton, Yeovil, Shepton Mallet, Bridgwater, Minehead and Burnham on Sea. The centres have been chosen so that no one in Somerset needs to travel more than 30 minutes in their own car to get to them.

There are GPs in the treatment centres as well as a “mobile GP” in a car who visits patients who are “clinically unable to make their own way to a Treatment Centre”.

There is a Nurse Practitioner based at the Taunton Treatment Centre. (A nurse practitioner is an experienced registered nurse in addition to their three years of general training, has undertaken further nursing study so that he or she can provide services which were previously only done by doctors, such as prescribing many medicines).

How does the Out of Hours service work?

The system is based on triaging;- Triage is the process of prioritising patients for treatment according to the seriousness of their condition. Patients phone the Out of Hours service (they may be referred to the Out of Hours service by NHS Direct) and their details are taken by administrative staff. Then the GP at the treatment centre (or at the central control room in St Leonards in Dorset) will phone the patient back. The patients will then be triaged over the phone: their need will be assessed and then options agreed based on the information given. The patient will either be given advice over the phone if the medical issue is minor or directed to the nearest treatment centre to be seen by a healthcare professional or they may have a home visit.

What are Emergency Care Practitioners?

 As well as GPs there are three Emergency Care Practitioners (Paramedics)with enhanced skills in minor injuries and prescribing responsibilities  operating in Somerset who can go out on home visits if appropriate and available (999 call outs permitting).

For more information

For more information about this Review or about the Patient Representative roles, please email Lucy on or contact us at the office.