Hackney GPs win back control of out-of-hours service

A not-for-profit GP group has won its bid to take back control of out-of-hours care from a private firm in part of north London.

Dr Deborah Colvin: CHUHSE chair
Dr Deborah Colvin: CHUHSE chair

City and Hackney CCG has awarded a four-year contract to City and Hackney Urgent Healthcare Social Enterprise (CHUHSE) to run out-of-hours care.

CHUHSE bid for the service earlier this year but in March 2013 current provider Harmoni’s contract was temporarily extended.

However, City and Hackney CCG has now awarded a contract to CHUHSE, and has agreed a substantial uplift in out-of-hours funding to support the service on the basis that it will reduce A&E attendances.

The current out-of-hours care deal is worth £4.8m a year, but the contract awarded to CHUHSE is worth £6.4m a year, £6m for out-of-hours care and £0.4m for call handling.

In a statement, City and Hackney CCG said: ‘There is confidence that the funding gap will be mitigated by the reduction in A&E activity over the course of the contract. The tariffs for A&E activity are considerably more than the out-of-hours consultation tariff and a significant reduction in A&E activity is expected over the lifetime of the contract as the provider increases public awareness and confidence in the GP out-of-hours service.

'Additionally, by having a more local service for City and Hackney residents, there is greater opportunity for better integration across the whole of primary care and improved continuity of care for patients.'

Speaking to GP earlier this month, CHUHSE chair and City and Hackney LMC chair Dr Deborah Colvin said the bid was a 'huge amount of work'.

She added: 'We have 28 GPs who are willing to work out-of-hours. It has the emotional involvement of local GPs. The social enterprise has 100 GP members and 300 members of the public.'

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