GP's concern over out-of-hours medical care

A GP, whose father was accidentally killed by a German doctor, has raised concerns about Suffolk employing the same out-of-hours provider.

Naomi Gornall

A GP, whose father was accidentally killed by a German doctor, has today raised concerns about Suffolk employing the same out-of-hours provider.

The Care Quality Commission launched a probe of the out-of-hours care provider, Take Care Now (TCN) after the death of 70-year-old David Gray, who was accidentally killed by German doctor, Dr Daniel Ubani with a fatal dose of medication. The incident happened during Dr Ubani's first out-of-hours shift in Britain in February last year. He was employed by TCN and working for NHS Cambridgeshire.

Mr Gray's inquest is due to take place in January.

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Earlier this week NHS Cambridgeshire terminated its contract with TCN nine weeks early due to concerns with its service and Mr Gray's son, Dr Stuart Gray, has now questioned why NHS Suffolk has not followed suit.

TCN, an independent company evolved from GP co-operative, Suffolk Doctors on Call, looks after out-of-hours care for nearly 600,000 people in Suffolk.

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Dr Gray, 50, who lives in Worcestershire, said: “I cannot see how Cambridgeshire PCT have such grave concerns that they terminate their contract short and other areas, like Suffolk, continue to employ TCN.

“We cannot bring him [Mr Gray] back but we need to make changes to try to toughen up safety mechanisms.

“The Care Quality Commission was so concerned that it brought out an interim report. It is a damning report and does highlight concerns about Suffolk.”

Martin Royal, director of business development and external relations at NHS Suffolk, said: “My understanding [of why NHS Cambridgeshire terminated the contract] was to do with the level of coverage they could achieve. There is no such issue here.

“Eighty-six per cent of shifts are covered by East Anglian doctors. When we look at the Lay Advisory Group report, 87 per cent of patients are satisfied or very satisfied with the service.

“From that point of view we are in a different place and have a different relationship with TCN [than NHS Cambridgeshire]. No service is perfect and we accept that. If there is a better provider out there, they will come out in the procurement process we are currently going through.”

TCN declined to comment saying it was a matter for NHS Suffolk.

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