A PATIENT representative has demanded answers to problems with the out-of-hours doctors' service for Colwall and Ledbury.

Colwall's Marcus Allen, a Patient and Public Involvement Forum member, outlined concerns at a board meeting of Herefordshire Primary Care Trust.

These include people being told to drive miles to seek treatment and the amount of time it takes for an out-of-hours doctor to visit those unable to travel.

Speaking after Wednesday's meeting, Mr Allen said the PCT had acknowledged that all was not right with the service.

"What they want to do is talk with the patients forum to resolve the issues," he said.

Patient complaints include having to travel to Hereford, Kington, Ross-on-Wye or Leominster for treatment at out-of-hours centres. The PCT does not have an arrangement for treatment in neighbouring Worcestershire, much closer for residents in places like Colwall.

In November, Primecare, the the private company that runs the out-of-hours service for the trust, closed a centre in Ledbury that opened for one hour 45minutes on Saturdays and Sundays, saying it was underused.

Matters came to a head two weeks ago when Much Marcle pensioner Dorothy Manns waited 10 hours to see a doctor before dying of bronchial pneumonia an hour after a doctor visited.

Herefordshire Primary Care Trust spokesman Simon Hairsnape denied they had acknowledged problems with the out-of-hours service. He said because Mr Allen had raised a range of issues, most of which were difficult to respond to without investigation, he had been asked to put his questions in writing.

"There was clearly some concern and some factual inaccuracy but underneath all that there may be some issues we want to investigate," said Mr Hairsnape, who said he was happy to explain to the Patient and Public Involvement Forum how the out-of-hours service works.

"There are always issues with any complex out-of-hours service and the service is meeting national standards," he said.

The Patient and Public Involvement Forum can be contacted at 36 Widemarsh Street, Hereford.