Private out-of-hours provider Harmoni has apologised to a patient after he was forced to travel to a more distant out-of-hours centre, which Harmoni said may have been due to a ‘late shift cancellation'.
The apology comes after a Pulse investigation revealed major gaps in out-of-hours rotas across the country, with up to a quarter of shifts at the service run by Harmoni in Suffolk going unfilled last June.
Suffolk patient Christopher Buckles complained after he was advised to attend Harmoni's centre in Ipswich rather than the nearest centre in Saxmundham. Harmoni said it was unable to comment on individual patients' cases, and stressed the Saxmundham base had been ‘open with a GP presence' in the evenings and during the day at weekends since 1 February.
Regional medical director David Lee said: ‘On the Sunday in question, the Saxmundham base was open but we had a late shift cancellation which may have influenced the thinking to offer a patient an appointment [in Ipswich].
‘However, even in these circumstances, a patient should have still been offered a choice, and if this did not happen we sincerely apologise.'