CQC calls for review of out of hours GP services

Posted on October 2, 2009. Filed under: Journals, Providers | Tags: |

Health Service Journal | 2 October 2009

A Care Quality Commission report has urged healthcare managers to review the quality of their out of hours services over fears that some private GP companies do not meet basic standards.

The CQC recommendation follows the death of 70-year-old David Gray last February, who was accidentally killed by a German doctor on his first out of hours shift in the UK.

Mr Gray died after being injected with a 10-fold strength dose of morphine. The doctor, Daniel Urbani, later told a court he was exhausted at the time and had only slept for a few hours before starting private work for a Cambridgeshire health trust.

The report into Take Care Now, the company that employed Dr Urbani and has additional contracts at trusts in Essex, Worcestershire, Suffolk, Great Yarmouth and Waveney and Cambridgeshire, concluded that all PCTs should scrutinise out of hours services more closely.

The report said: “They should look in detail at the services that they commission, including the efficiency of call handling and triage, the number of unfilled shifts, the proportion of shifts covered by non-local doctors, the induction and training those doctors receive, and the quality of the decisions made by clinical staff.”

CQC chief executive Cynthia Bower added current trust monitoring of Take Care Now’s services was “only scratching the surface”.

The CQC’s advice was backed up by health minister Mike O’Brien, who said patient safety was paramount.

Mr O’Brien said: “Primary care trusts have a clear legal responsibility to provide safe, high quality out of hours care and are required to have in place robust performance management arrangements to ensure their out of hours services are delivering against contractual requirements.”

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