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Private company wins temporary out of hours contract

Private company Care UK has taken over out-of-hours services for Gloucestershire, starting in the summer for ten months.

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust previously ran the out of hours service but terminated the contract to focus on provision of emergency care and 999 services.

NHS Gloucestershire CCG has chosen Care UK to run the contract in an ‘interim’ deal from 1 June 2017 on a ten month contract.

The CCG will seek a new five to seven year contract from 1 April 2018 after a second procurement process, which the CCG says will over them ‘an opportunity to work with patients and their representatives and health and care partners to consider what is needed from the service over the longer term.’

The CCG’s accountable officer, Mary Hutton said: ‘This was a strong bid and we are keen to work with Care UK to ensure high quality, safe and timely out of hours services which fully meet the needs of our patients during this period.’

She added: ‘We are fortunate that local GPs, nurses and other healthcare professionals working in Gloucestershire have continued to support the Out of Hours service over the years and we will want to work closely with them to retain their skills and expertise.’

Sarah-Jane Graham, director of integrated urgent care at Care UK, said: ‘We are pleased to have been selected by NHS Gloucestershire CCG to run the GP out of hours service and will be working closely with our partners during the 10 month contract to provide patients with the best possible service.

‘Care UK is committed to providing high quality care and we have many years of experience running similar services. We believe that our considerable knowledge of the local Gloucestershire health infrastructure, combined with an NHS 111 service which has consistently performed above the national average in a number of quality indicators, puts us in a strong position to deliver a clinically safe and patient focused service to people living in the region.’

Chief executive of South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, Ken Wenman said: ‘We look forward to working with Care UK to ensure a seamless transition and will continue to support staff through this change process.’