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How many calls to co-ops are ‘urgent’?

Unlike some mutuals or GP co-operatives who refused to participate in this round of benchmarking, Harmoni welcomes the publication of comparative data (‘Patients prefer co-ops to private OOH firms').

We continually strive to improve the quality of our services and have participated in all four rounds of the Primary Care Foundation benchmarking process.

We review the outcomes with our commissioners and agree with them any actions we need to take to raise standards further.

We are surprised that Pulse should focus on how ownership issues affect responsiveness to urgent calls without mentioning the variation in the number of calls identified as urgent.

The survey highlights a significant number of providers who have very low levels – some less than 10% and one as low as 0% – of ‘urgent' case identification during the initial prioritisation of a call.

A normal service should be identifying between 15-25% of their calls as ‘urgent', and not
to do so would raise alarms in our clinical governance framework. Harmoni on average identifies 20% more ‘urgent' calls than the average of other providers.

Harmoni does get asked to take over contracts from failing out-of-hours providers. Our national average performance is therefore dragged down until we raise the standards of these services. 


From Andrew Gardner, Chief executive, Harmoni