Call for out of hours GP base in Ipswich

SUFFOLK: GPs in the county today urged the new out-of-hours health care provider to set up a calls base in Ipswich.

Naomi Cassidy

SUFFOLK: GPs in the county today urged the new out-of-hours health care provider to set up a calls base in Ipswich.

NHS Suffolk has announced that Take Care Now (TCN) will not run the service when its contract expires at the end of March.

It has instead been given to the independent firm, Harmoni HS Ltd, which is due to take over from April next year.


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There are concerns among doctors that because Harmoni currently covers the same service for north Essex, the triage base (where patients call for treatment) will be situated in Essex.

One GP from the Ipswich area, who did not want to be named, said having a triage centre in Ipswich would be essential for the service to work well.

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He said: “We are concerned about what will happen in the future. It was heartening to hear there will be an out-of-hours base in Ipswich Hospital but we were concerned about where the triage centre will be.

“If there was a local base, the people working there would be more likely to be local so would know the area. I could give advice to people in Colchester but I would not know the area. Being local enables you to relate to your community. Suffolk is a big area and it would help if those in the triage centre knew what area they were talking about.”

Ruth Taylor, a spokeswoman for Harmoni, explained that because there is currently an official ten-day cooling off period taking place in the wake of the announcement, the details of the new contract are yet to be finalised and currently being discussed with NHS Suffolk.

She added: “We are very committed to local management and local service delivery. This will be a Suffolk-based service.”

Are you a GP and have a view on this? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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