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Harmoni set to strengthen dominance of OOH services

By Ian Quinn

A private firm looks set to strengthen its dominance of GP out-of-hours services by taking over scandal-rocked provider Take Care Now.

Harmoni has announced that ‘heads of agreement' have been signed with the company, whose services came under fire from the Government and the Care Quality Commission after the death of a Cambridgeshire patient at the hands of a German out-of-hours locum.

The deal would continue a major expansion by Harmoni, which is the biggest out-of-hours private provider in England and now provides cover for 23 PCTs. It also recently won the contract to cover services in Suffolk and last year merged with Thamesdoc, expanding its operation into Surrey, West Sussex and Hampshire.

Dr Tony Snell, medical director of Harmoni, said of the Take Care Now deal: ‘We believe Harmoni will provide strong business leadership and safe systems and processes based on our experience elsewhere.'