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GP out-of-hours service praised in national audit

Company news

The Warwickshire GP out-of-hours service has been praised in a national quality audit.

The service, commissioned by the local NHS and operated by Care UK, a leading independent provider of health and social care services, received a routine inspection from the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The CQC is the independent regulator of all health and social care services in England.

The CQC inspector assessed the safety, effectiveness, care, responsiveness and leadership of the service and classed all of them ‘good’. His key findings were the out-of-hour service:

  • provided safe care and treatment. Care UK Warwickshire had procedures in place which identified and minimised risks to patients who used the service
  • employed staff who delivered safe care and treatment and received appropriate training and supervision to enable them to do so
  • was responsive to patients’ needs. It provided face-to-face consultations, telephone consultations and home visits depending on the needs of patients
  • had procedures in place to monitor the effectiveness of its patient care and treatment. This was carried out in a consistent way which ensured the performance of the out-of-hours service was closely monitored. When improvements were needed these were identified and steps were taken to make improvements.

The CQC inspector’s report praised the service, saying: “We gathered the views of patients and all the patients we spoke with were complimentary about Care UK Warwickshire. Patients said they were offered an appointment when needed. They told us they received a telephone call from the service within the agreed time scale and had been offered an appointment. Patients told us GPs and advanced nurse practitioners were professional and courteous at all times. At all three sites we visited as part of this inspection, we saw appointments to see a GP were running to time. We looked at the results from the latest monthly patient surveys and saw patients who responded gave the out-of-hours service positive ratings for areas such as care, treatment and advice.”

Diane Spreadborough, manager of the out-of-hours service, said: “We are pleased to have passed this important inspection and we are delighted with the comments from the inspector. The inspector’s conclusions are testimony to the dedicated work of our entire team. Our challenge now is to work at further improving the service in the future.”

Care UK provides out-of-hours primary medical services across Warwickshire when GP practices are closed. The out-of-hours service covers a population of approximately 540,000 people. The area covered incorporates three Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) areas including South Warwickshire, Warwickshire North and Rugby, which falls within NHS Coventry and Rugby CCG.

The full CQC report can be read at

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