HOUNSLOW patients get one of the poorest out-of-hours doctor services in the country, according to a new report.
A report released by the Patients Association revealed the borough is the fourth worst area in the UK according to local householders.
The document surveyed 1.1million patients across Britain, with 19 per cent of respondents from Hounslow rating out-of-hours care as 'poor' or 'very poor'.
Geoff Martin, chairman of campaign group London Health Emergency, said: "People will be really worried to hear that in Hounslow they are getting such poor quality of service as a result of years and years of cutbacks and privatisation.
"It is shocking news for someone who is expecting to get out-of hours GP cover. It's the worst possible kind of news because it leaves people in fear that when they make that phone call to get the support they need there is real danger it is going to be delayed and won't be up to the kind of standard they expect."
Health authorities were also asked how much money was spent per head of the registered patient population.
NHS Hounslow was one of the authorities that failed to provide this data to the association, but the Chronicle can reveal that the average spend per head on the GP registered population in Hounslow is £6.10.
National trends showed some primary care trusts spent up to 16 times more on out-of-hours care than others, with lower spends at less than £5 per head and others peaking at more than £15 per head, indicating a postcode lottery in health provision.
An NHS Hounslow spokesman said: "NHS Direct and Harmoni provide our out-of-hours service to the patients of those GP practices which have chosen to opt out of out-of-hours provision.
"This means NHS Hounslow commissions a provider to manage the out-of-hours care for those practices, covering 71,955 patients.
"Doctors are on call and able to discuss urgent problems by phone or if necessary visit patients at home. In December 2009 there were 1,468 calls, which resulted in 618 face-to-face meetings with a GP."