Health firms in takeover talks

VITAL health services currently delivered by an under-fire private firm are set to be taken on by a larger company.

Elliot Furniss

VITAL health services currently delivered by an under-fire private firm are set to be taken on by a larger company.

Take Care Now (TCN) runs a number of out-of-hours services across most of Suffolk but yesterday Harmoni HS Ltd confirmed that “heads of agreement” had been signed between the two companies.

Under these terms, TCN has given Harmoni exclusive rights to enter into a due diligence exercise over the next two weeks, before purchasing a controlling interest of the business.

TCN currently provides out-of-hours GP services, runs a minor injuries unit in Ipswich, delivers sexual health services and provides emergency dentistry care for NHS Suffolk.

It also manages a practice of two surgeries in Lowestoft as well as out of hours services for Great Yarmouth and Waveney PCT.

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These services and others in Essex, Cambridgeshire and Worcestershire are all covered by the talks.

Dr Tony Snell, medical director of Harmoni, said: “We know that there is a very committed professional team within TCN

“We believe that Harmoni will be able to provide strong business management and leadership, safe systems and processes based on our experience elsewhere, and the right level of support to enable them to deliver the best quality service possible for local people.''

David Cocks, chief executive of TCN, said the future of the business and its staff was “best placed” within a larger organisation. He said: “Harmoni is a key operator in the delivery of healthcare services to the NHS in England.

“They are of a size and scale which enables them to take the work TCN has done in delivering timely and appropriate care forward to the next stage.”

The issue of out-of-hours care was thrust into the spotlight after the tragic death of 70-year-old kidney patient David Gray.

Mr Gray died after being treated by German doctor, Dr Daniel Ubani, who was employed by TCN and was working for NHS Cambridgeshire in his first out-of-hours shift in Britain.

A coroner recently recorded a verdict of unlawful killing at an inquest into Mr Gray's death.

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