out-of-hours GP service rated inadequate by inspectors
out-of-hours GP service in Somerset has been placed into special
measures following an inspection.
Care Quality Commission (CQC) has said in a new report out this
week that the "inadequate" service run by private company
Vocare was unsafe, ineffective and poorly led.
investigation was sparked after four patients died shortly after
they rang the NHS 111 service.
which also runs the 111 service, said it was "very disappointed"
by the findings.
of the county's 111 service has been rated as inadequate, with the
service overall rated as "requiring improvement".
watchdog told Vocare, the company behind Somerset Doctors Urgent
Care, that "systems, processes and practices to keep people
safe had significant gaps and were a cause of concern".
added the service had to ensure that "serious incidents, deaths
or safeguarding referrals"
were properly referred to the CQC.
is understood to refer to the deaths of four people earlier this
year who were suffering from abnormal aortic aneurysms - catastrophic
conditions caused when a major blood vessel bursts.
four rang the 111 control centre in Taunton but were not identified
as being at risk, and died within 24 hours.
Cridge from the CQC said there needed to be rapid improvement in
the speed at which patients were seen and treated.
needs to get its house in order," she said. "We can't
have inadequate services running like this."
out-of-hours service will be inspected again in six months. If any
areas of the service remain rated as inadequate, Vocare face the
threat of losing the service.
to reports that Vocare may be in a position to take over more health
care services in the region, Ms Cridge added: "Contract negotiations
are for commissioners to settle. I would not expect to see the expansion
of an inadequate service."
Michael Harrison, medical director at Vocare, said the report was
added: "To be fair the main issues seem to be about how we
monitor our services and staff rather than patient care. In both
reports patient care was quoted as good and they felt we were a
Clinical Commissioning Group said it was "disappointed"
with the report and would continue to monitor Vocare's performance.