GP out-of-hours co-operation in Devon and Cornwall ditched
Proposals which could have seen Devon and Cornwall’s out of hours GP service forming closer working ties have been dropped.
Devon Doctors, the co-operative which runs the service in the county, and Serco, the private firm which runs it in Cornwall, had been in talks about linking up.
However, Chris Wright, chief executive of Devon Doctors, said the matter had now been shelved after clinical commissioning group NHS Kernow and Serco were unable to reach contract agreements
In a statement just released, he said: “Devon Doctors has withdrawn from discussions with Serco apropos the subcontracting of face-to-face elements of the urgent out-of-hours GP service in Cornwall.
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“We remain firmly of the belief that our model of social enterprise and GP practice ownership would have resulted in an improved service in the county.
“Unfortunately, contractual negotiations between Serco and the commissioning body, NHS Kernow, were not successful.
“We are disappointed that our offer of support will not be pursued.
“However, Devon Doctors respects the decision made by NHS Kernow and will now redouble its efforts to maintain and improve the standards of GP out-of-hours and urgent care across its home county.”
Details of the discussions remained a closely guarded secret, however it is thought Serco approached Devon Doctors to provide some of their clinical services.
Serco has had a controversial history at the helm of the service since taking over from a Cornish GP consortium in 2006.
Earlier this year, the powerful Public Accounts Committee of MPs delivered a scathing verdict on the operation accusing it of “bullying” staff and offering a “sub-standard” service to patients.
The fierce criticism followed an investigation in which it had emerged staff altered NHS data 252 times.