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Archived: Care UK – North Central London

The provider of this service changed - see new profile


Inspection carried out on 26 February 2014

During a routine inspection

Harmoni – North Central London (NCL) (now Care UK - North Central London) is the provider of out of hours GP services for the boroughs of Camden and Islington. The services include the provision of telephone medical advice to callers, face to face consultations with a doctor at two bases, in the Bloomsbury Building at St Pancras Hospital and at Whittington Hospital. In some cases callers are visited by a doctor at home. The service covers approximately 77 GP practices and provides advice and treatment to a population of over 0.4 million patients.

We carried out the inspection as part of our new inspection programme to test our approach going forward. The inspection team included the lead CQC inspector, a GP, a second CQC inspector, two bank inspectors and an expert-by-experience.

Overall, we found Harmoni – NCL provided care that was safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led. We saw there were robust systems in place to ensure the safety of patients when they accessed the service. We found learning from untoward incidents. We found learning from untoward incidents had taken place. We saw changes to practice had occurred and these continued to be monitored.

The provider had taken steps to ensure that all staff underwent a robust recruitment, selection and induction process. These systems meant patients could be assured of the doctors’ suitability to care for them.

We found the service was effective in meeting patient needs. There was an electronic system to ensure that patient information was promptly shared with each patient’s own GP. This meant continuity of care was provided.

Patients we spoke with told us they were happy with the care and treatment they received and felt safe. They told us staff had been kind and caring and we observed patients being treated with respect whilst their dignity and confidentiality was maintained.

There were effective systems in place to assure the quality of the service. This included a specific role of Clinical Navigator who was a clinician, to support the doctors on duty and address problems when they arose.

There was evidence of collaborative working between the provider and other healthcare and social care agencies which ensured patients received the best outcomes in the shortest possible time.

Inspection carried out on 11, 12 March 2013

During a routine inspection

We inspected the services at the provider�s office base on the 11th and 12th March 2013. We visited the provider�s clinics where patients can see a GP at St Pancras and Whittington Hospitals and spoke with the manager, doctors and other staff working in the service. We spoke with people using the service and looked at various records, including employment and training records, quality monitoring documentation and complaints records.

Overall, the provider had systems in place to enable patients to be assessed and where needed to see a doctor either at a clinic or at home. The feedback from people who used the service was very positive about the support they received when speaking to staff or having a consultation with a doctor. The doctors and other staff working in the service had completed the appropriate recruitment processes and received training to enable them to perform their roles.

The provider has not managed to recruit and retain enough doctors to work in the service. This is a particular problem when doctors are unable to work at short notice or during peak periods such as bank holidays. This has resulted in patients taking longer to have their calls clinically assessed and longer to see a doctor when necessary. On occasions, staff have not been available at clinics to see patients. This has resulted in falls in patient satisfaction and potentially places patients at risk of not having the care and treatment they need.