New provider to take over out-of-hours GP services

A new provider will be taking over services for Great Yarmouth and Waveney's patients who need care from a GP outside normal working hours.

NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney, working with GPs' group HealthEast, has appointed South East Health to provide out-of-hours medical care to its 230,000 population.

South East Health take over form exisiting provider Harmoni from Friday, September 30, after winning a three-year contract.

In addition, South East Health will also provide a new single point of access call centre, which patients can contact for help, reassurance and advice as well as referrals into the out of hours GP service.

South East Health will continue to use GPs from Great Yarmouth and Waveney to provide the out-of-hours service, while all triage will also be completed locally.

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Andy Evans, chief executive of HealthEast CIC, the GPs' organisation which is due to take over responsibility for healthcare in the area under the NHS health reforms, said: 'South East Health is a major not-for-profit social enterprise and, for the past 20 years, has been providing out of hours primary care.

'South East Health successfully provides the out-of-hours services in East Sussex, East Kent, West Kent, Brighton & Hove and Northamptonshire.

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'Working closely with our local GPs we looked at what we wanted from the service before developing the tender document.

'During the extensive tendering process, we completed a thorough assessment of the provision that South East Health will offer and are confident that this change will ensure our patients continue to receive a safe, equitable and consistent out-of-hours service.

'Patient safety and service quality are of primary importance to HealthEast.

'As such, South East Health will work in accordance with our existing robust contractual arrangements which we will continue to monitor closely. We will be working closely with them to make the service even better for patients over the next three years.

'In the coming weeks, we will be working closely with South East Health and the existing out of hours service provider, Harmoni, to ensure the transition between service providers will be seamless for our patients.'

Ron Owttrim, chief executive of South East Health, said: 'We are delighted that we have been successful in our tender to provide out-of-hours primary care and a single point of access for the patients of Great Yarmouth and Waveney.

'We look forward to working closely with the clinicians, NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney, HealthEast CIC and the current staff to ensure that the service runs smoothly from day one.

'In particular, we look forward to working with the existing staff and local GPs to provide a locally based service for all Great Yarmouth and Waveney patients.'

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