Care UK agrees deal to take over UK's largest out-of-hours provider

Private healthcare provider Care UK has taken over Harmoni, the UK's largest provider of GP out-of-hours services.

Out-of-hours: largest UK provider taken over
Out-of-hours: largest UK provider taken over

The deal will take the number of NHS patients who receive services delivered by Care UK to more than 15m.

Harmoni has been involved in delivering GP out-of-hours for 15 years, and runs GP-led health centres, referral management centres, NHS 111 and other services.

Its out-of-hours services alone cover 8m patients in the UK. Care UK said the takeover would ‘increase the company’s ability to improve unscheduled care and help health commissioners make sure that patients get the right treatment at the right place without unnecessarily occupying hospital beds’.

Mike Parish, Care UK chief executive said: ‘We understand the urgency with which the NHS needs to be able to reduce unscheduled and inappropriate hospital admissions of patients who can and should receive treatment elsewhere.

‘Bringing Harmoni into Care UK’s healthcare organisation will help us to help commissioners within the NHS make the most effective use of their resources, making sure that unscheduled treatment, including out-of-hours needs, takes place in the most appropriate setting.

‘Harmoni is busy mobilising its new NHS 111 call services, which enable patients to use a single, simple contact point to access unscheduled care and which will allow us as a partner within the NHS to direct those patients to the right local ser-vice, which is often not an acute service.

‘By putting the 111 channel and Harmoni’s expertise in healthcare technology alongside the existing out-of-hours expertise in both organisations, and Care UK’s ability to invest in future service development, we can give the NHS better quality care at lower costs.

Edmund Jahn, Harmoni managing director, said: ‘Becoming part of the Care UK family is hugely positive news for our patients, our commissioners and the colleagues who deliver high quality care across all our services.  It gives all our services a strong and sustainable platform for the future as we work within Care UK to support the NHS.’

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