Suffolk: New providers of community healthcare found failing by watchdog

A PRIVATE company set to take over the running of Suffolk’s community healthcare services has today been criticised over its out-of-hours GP service in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Serco signed the contract to takeover services, including district nurses and community hospitals, last Friday after winning the �140million deal with NHS Suffolk.

But it has emerged the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has raised concerns saying the firm was not meeting four of the eight essential standards of quality and safety.

The report followed inspections conducted during April and May, when a team of inspectors made unannounced visits to the company’s call centre in Truro and five clinics where they met patients, GPs and support staff.

The areas of concern were around safeguarding people from abuse, a lack of enough qualified, skilled and experienced staff to meet people’s needs, supporting staff and assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision.

Paul Forden, managing director of Serco’s clinical services, said: “We acknowledge that at the time of the CQC visit earlier this year, we did not meet all aspects of four standards against which we were being audited. One area was found to be of ‘minor’ concern and three to be of ‘moderate’ concern.

“We can confirm that we have already implemented actions to ensure that three of the four areas have made progress and we consider that we have achieved the required standards. On the fourth recommendation on training we are 92 per cent compliant today and will fully meet the requirement within the next month.

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“Patient safety and wellbeing is our first priority.”

A CQC spokesman said Serco has been given 14 days to provide a report setting out how it will achieve compliance, before inspectors return.

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