Out of hours care probe in Suffolk

AN investigation into Suffolk's out of hours medical care is under way today.

AN investigation into Suffolk's out of hours medical care is under way today.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has today outlined the scope of its review of the provision and commissioning of out-of-hours GP services run by Ipswich-based Take Care Now (TCN), including services in Suffolk.

The work was triggered by the tragic case of Cambridgeshire man David Gray, a patient who was treated by a locum doctor from Germany and died following the administration of 100mg of diamorphine.

The CQC will look at the service generally, focusing on current systems, including contractual and monitoring arrangements between primary care trusts (PCTs) and TCN, as well as changes made after recent incidents.

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It will also conduct a retrospective review of events to ensure that all appropriate factors have been identified, that lessons have been learnt and to establish whether further improvements are needed.

Specifically, the CQC will examine key elements of the TCN service including management of calls and the response to them; staffing arrangements; pharmacy arrangements and the supply of medicines; commissioning arrangements, particularly governance and quality checks in place for monitoring the contract; how PCTs identify and act upon patient safety incidents.

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Christine Braithwaite, Head of Investigations and Enforcement at the CQC, said: “We have clear reasons to review where patients have suffered harm, and will rigorously identify where things went wrong.

“We need to make sure that both TCN and the PCTs that commission its services have identified the problems, learnt lessons from them and made robust improvements as a result.

“Our number one concern is the safety of patients, and we will be looking closely at the contributory factors to the care provided in specific cases, as well as thoroughly examining the current systems in place. If we find areas of concern that require immediate attention, we will not hesitate to use our powers to make sure the safety of patients is not compromised.”

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