PATIENTS have been reassured that out-of-hours cover will still be provided in Huddersfield, despite changes to the new GP contract.
A new GP contract which comes into force in April will allow GPs to pass responsibility for providing night and weekend cover to NHS primary care trusts.
These organise community medical services for patients in a particular district.
But the changes are only administrative and patients should not notice any difference to their service.
Dr David Anderson, local GP and chairman of the professional executive committee for Huddersfield Central Primary Care Trust said: "At the moment, GPs can either provide an out-of-hours service themselves or delegate their out-of-hours responsibility to another doctor or deputising service.
"Family doctors working under the new General Medical Services (GMS) contract will be able to opt out of their responsibility for providing or arranging an out-of- hours service, in which case the local PCT will be responsible for ensuring this service is available.
"Patients should be reassured that an out-of-hours service will still be available by calling their usual surgery number.
"The only difference will be in who is providing or arranging the service.
"The PCT and local GPs will ensure that high-quality, responsible out-of-hours services continue to be provided for local people."
Under present arrangements, GPs who do not want to work nights and weekends can buy out-of-hours cover, usually provided by GP co-operatives, at an estimated cost of between £3,000 and £17,000 a year.
Those who decide to pass responsibility for providing out of hours cover to primary care trusts in April are expected to lose an estimated £6,000 a year in income.
A poll commissioned for BBC Radio Five Live and BBC Radio 4 Today programme has shown more than eight out of 10 GPs are planning to opt out of providing care for their patients outside surgery hours.
Dr Steve Hugh, a GP in Telford, Shropshire, told the survey: "From April, who knows what will happen?
"If the primary care trusts can afford it, the services could be similar. But it is more likely we will have to pare it down.
"Nurses, paramedics and accident and emergency will have to pick up the pieces but it is going to be difficult to recruit the staff.
"I am not convinced that the resources are there in rural areas to provide a good enough service."
The Government announced an extra £28m last month aimed at helping primary care trusts covering rural, remote and deprived areas to provide out-of-hours services.
The extra money was on top of £110m announced earlier this year to support the development of out-of-hours care in the new GP contract.