‘Inadequate’ private provider to hand back troubled contract early

A company operating one of the first integrated NHS 111 and GP out of hours services is to hand back the contract to the NHS.

Primecare was placed in special measures last month after its services in East Kent were rated inadequate by the Care Quality Commission – only seven months after it started full operations. Failings included not having enough staff to meet patient needs and not assessing risks to patients’ health.

A meeting of Kent County Council’s health overview and scrutiny committee yesterday was told the company planned to hand back the contract mid term. The contract was for three years, with an option to extend for another two.

Simon Perks, chief accountable officer for Ashford and Canterbury and Coastal clinical commissioning groups, told the committee: “The contractor has given us notice and will be leaving the contract on 7 July next year.”

He stressed that the four east Kent CCGs were working with the provider to address the issues in the CQC report and they were being supported by NHS England. A review of the procurement process would also take place.

Mr Perks said: “The specification that was let was not going to deliver the type of service that was required or the provider… was never going to be in a position to provide that service in the way it was required.

“There was national concern about how it would work.”

Article from HSJ, 21 September 2017