Privatised GP Services Leading to Medical Negligence


Medical mistakes are on the rise as family GPs opt out of working outside of normal hours and private care providers step in to fill the breach.

Medical Negligence

A recent watchdog report has found that Harmoni, Britain’s largest out of hours care provider, is failing to uphold patient care and to provide enough doctors to keep patients safe.

Despite earning £100 million a year from NHS contracts Harmoni has claimed that there have been difficulties in recruiting enough GPs to cover their service needs and that a more “attractive” employment package may be needed to improve the standard.

However, the watchdog report also reveals that the firm relies on several European doctors who fly from Spain and Austria, some with less than adequate English- speaking abilities. This could potentially lead to medical mistakes being made and lives being put in danger.

This increased risk to patients has led to the NHS regulator, the Care Quality Commission, to step in and file a report against the harmful practices of Harmoni.

Patient Care Being Put out to Tender

The CQC report is the first documentary evidence from an official body that proves cost cutting private practices are becoming increasingly harmful to patient care.

Harmoni beat its rival, the non- profit GP organisation LCWUCC (London Central & West Unscheduled Care Collaborative) to win the out of hours service contract. A letter detailing the outcome of the tender showed that despite beating Harmoni in terms of care quality, LCWUCC could not beat Harmoni on price.

NHS North Central London said that their tendering process included a minimum quality threshold and that Harmoni had scored highest overall when quality and value for money were combined.

Four million extra A&E patients flooding in every year have been attributed to the failure of inadequate out of hours GP services. Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, has also criticised GPs by saying that there needs to be a closer relationship between GPs and patients and that the responsibility of providing good out of hours service should rest with them.

Low Price before Life

Despite the evidence, the verdict on Harmoni’s foul practices have come a little too late for baby Axel Peanberg King who died of pneumonia at seven weeks old after waiting four hours to see a GP.

Harrowing details of the tragic death of Tina Papalabropoulos, a 23 year old disabled woman, proves that cutting costs leads to the cutting short of lives. Not only was she refused a visit from an out of hours GP but when she arrived at Basildon hospital, many opportunities were missed to potentially save her life.

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