Yarmouth GP service may be sold

An out-of-hours health provider which has been slammed following the death of a patient is set to be taken over by another company.Ipswich-based Take Care Now provides the out-of-hours GP service for Yarmouth and Waveney and the rest of Suffolk.

An out-of-hours health provider which has been slammed following the death of a patient is set to be taken over by another company.

Ipswich-based Take Care Now provides the out-of-hours GP service for Yarmouth and Waveney and the rest of Suffolk. But it has come under fire following the death of David Gray from Manea in Cambridgeshire, who died from a fatal overdose of diamorphine given by a TCN doctor who had flown over from Germany.

TCN had already had its out-of-hours contract for Cambridgeshire terminated and been replaced with Harmoni, which has more than 20 NHS contracts covering more than 7 million patients, most for out of hours services. In December NHS Suffolk announced that it would be switching from TCN to Harmoni when the current contract expires on April 1.

NHS South West Essex and NHS Worcester have also said they want to move away from TCN, leaving Yarmouth and Waveney as the last area still using TCN.


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Now TCN wants to sell its business to Harmoni. This would mean that Yarmouth and Waveney patients will have a service provided by Harmoni until the contract expires in October.

Pam Fenner, director of nursing and quality at NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney, said: “At the moment we are completing a thorough assessment of the provision which Harmoni would offer. We want to be fully confident that this change will ensure our patients continue to receive a safe and consistent out of hours service.”

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David Cocks, chief executive of TCN, said: “The future of TCN and its staff is best placed within a larger organisation.”

Harmoni will be carrying out the “due diligence” checks of TCN and its accounts over the next two weeks before it decides whether to buy it.

Tony Snell, medical director of Harmoni, said: “We believe that Harmoni will be able to provide strong business management and leadership, safe systems and processes based on our experience elsewhere, and the right level of support to enable them to deliver the best quality service possible for local people.”

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