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GP out-of-hours to be monitored

2nd October 2009

Out-of-hours GP care needs to be monitored more closely, according to the Care Quality Commission.

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In an interim review report, it found that primary care trusts may be failing to spot patient safety issues because of a lack of scrutiny.

The review was triggered after a 70-year-old patient died in February 2008 when locum doctor Daniel Ubani from Germany mistakenly gave him an overdose of diamorphine.

The CQC launched an inquiry in June into the provision of out-of-hours care provided by Take Care Now in East Cambridge and Fenland in the east of England.

The watchdog subsequently visited five PCTs which use Take Care Now – Worcestershire, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Great Yarmouth and Waveney and South West Essex - and found trusts were failing to monitor the equality of care provided.

CQC chief executive Cynthia Bower said: "Our visits to the five trusts that commission Take Care Now's services showed they are only scratching the surface in terms of how they are routinely monitoring the quality of out-of-hours services.

"Although we are still in the early stages of our enquiries, we believe this may point towards a national problem."

Take Care Now said it welcomed the interim progress report and would continue to work with the CQC in its investigation.

The BMA said PCTs had a duty to ensure doctors were properly trained and that recruitment procedures were robust enough to ensure patient safety.

The CQC is due to present its final report into out of hours care early next year.

 

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