THE out-of-hours telephone services of local GP surgeries have been put under the spotlight by independent patient champion group Healthwatch Hampshire.

Volunteers and staff from the group called each surgery between 6.30pm and 9pm on May 29 this year to check they were giving vital information to patients.

Surgeries should ensure they have a prompt, clear and audible message, with information about 999, opening hours and out-of-hours.

Local surgeries covered by North Hampshire Clinical Commissioning group fared well on the whole, but Healthwatch Hampshire found some gaps in vital information.

Bramblys Grange Medical Partnership, in Crown Heights, Oakley and Overton Partnership, in Station Road, Overton, and Odiham Health Centre, in Deer Park View, Odiham, did not include information on opening hours.

The Odiham Health centre message also failed to be clear and audible, whilst Hackwood Partnership, in Essex Road, and Kingsclere Medical Practice, in North Street, Kingsclere, did not provide a prompt answer.

Gillies and Overbridge Medical Partnership, in Sullivan Road, failed to include 999 information.

It is recommended that all messages should include the phrase: “If you are experiencing a potentially life-threatening condition, please hang up and dial 999.”

A spokesman for Healthwatch Hampshire said the results were good overall, adding: “We want to ensure that when a patient telephones a GP surgery out-of-hours they hear a good quality recorded message which contains correct and clear information enabling the patient to be signposted to the appropriate service.”