GP’s to take out-of-hours care back from private sector

Pic: johnnyalive

Doctors in Hackney are to launch a community benefit society with the aim of taking back the running of general practice out-of-hours services.

City & Hackney Urgent Healthcare Social Enterprise (CHUHSE) will be launched on April 2, 2013. The planned changes would see responsibility for urgent and out-of-out hours care in the borough being taken from private company Harmoni and handed back to GPs.

Chief Executive for CHUHSE Mark Cockerton, who has set-up similar social enterprise out-of-hours services across England, explained to Eastlondonlines: “This new approach to out of hours care has happened because of the leadership of 2 local GPs, Dr. Deborah Colvin and Dr. Victoria Holt who several years ago started the process to make this happen.”

“Membership is now open to anyone over 16 who lives or works in Hackney and CHUHSE is very keen to encourage local people to join the Society and take an interest in the way that services are provided. CHUHSE is a Community Benefit Society with a strict not-for-profit ethos ensuring that every penny of funding received will be used entirely for providing out of hours care in City & Hackney.”

GP Clare Highton, who is also chairwoman of the City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group said to Eastlondonlines: “The CCG is keen to have really good out-of-hours services locally, and excellent collaboration with our local A&E departments.”

The community group Hackney Keep Our NHS Public has welcomed the initiative. A representative of the group said: “Local GPs and CCG have our full backing to set up the out of hours service.

“Hackney Urgent Healthcare Social Enterprise is about local doctors, dedicated to our welfare, setting up GP out of hours service as opposed to a predatory private company parachuting in to try to make money out of local people’s illnesses”.

Peter Richardson, A spokesman for Harmoni, the UK’s largest out-of-hours health operator said: “As providers of the current out-of-hours service, Harmoni does not think it is our place to comment on any possible future commissioning plans for the service.”

As outlined in the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, from April, Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) formed of member GP practice, will be responsible for commissioning local health services and responsible for spending 60 per cent of the NHS budget.

The North Hackney Consortium of GPs is to hold a public meeting on Tuesday January 29, between the hours of 19:00 and 21:00. They will provide patients in the City and Hackney Area with information about the future of healthcare.

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