Following a comprehensive tender and evaluation process, the CCG has selected Care UK as the preferred provider for the primary care Out of Hours service in the county for a period of 10 months from 1 June 2017.

The CCG began an ‘interim’ procurement in the autumn after South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust confirmed its intention to terminate their contract for the Out of Hours service in Gloucestershire early to focus their efforts on the provision of 999/emergency care in the area.

Commenting on the new short term contract, Accountable Officer, Mary Hutton said:

“This was a strong bid and we are keen to work with Care UK to ensure high quality, safe and timely out of hours services which fully meet the needs of our patients during this period.

We know from patients that what they really want is joined up care and treatment with the best possible co-ordination between services. Care UK will work in close partnership with our other local providers to achieve this.

Over the coming weeks, we will be working with Care UK and the current provider, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust to ensure a seamless transition and service continuity for the benefit of patients. High quality care will be the top priority.

We are fortunate that local GPs, nurses and other healthcare professionals working in Gloucestershire have continued to support the Out of Hours service over the years and we will want to work closely with them to retain their skills and expertise.”

Sarah-Jane Graham, Director of Integrated Urgent Care at Care UK said:

“We are delighted to have been chosen as the preferred bidder and, working closely with partners and other providers, we are looking forward to delivering the best possible service for the people of Gloucestershire.”

Chief Executive of South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, Ken Wenman said:

“We look forward to working with Care UK to ensure a seamless transition and will continue to support staff through this change process.”

A new five to seven year contract will be sought from 1 April 2018 following a second procurement process.

This will offer the CCG an opportunity to work with patients and their representatives and health and care partners to consider what is needed from the service over the longer term, alongside reviewing the wider urgent and emergency care system in Gloucestershire.

The aim of this will be to ensure truly joined up urgent and emergency care services for the people of Gloucestershire.

The comprehensive evaluation of detailed responses from potential providers took place in November 2016. There was a strong emphasis within the evaluation criteria on service quality.

Key features of the primary care Out of Hours service include:

  • Face to face consultations with doctors and nurses at treatment centres in the county or the patient’s home and telephone assessment and advice in support of the NHS 111 service during the out of hours period
  • Urgent medical support out of hours to inpatients in community hospitals within Gloucestershire
  • Responsive clinical advice to patients and other healthcare professionals (including paramedics) through telephone support
  • Seamless transfer of care to other services in line with the patient’s needs
  • Provision of services in safe and secure environments that are supportive of privacy, dignity and confidentiality.

One of the key aims of the service is to ensure timely care and help to avoid the need for a hospital visit or stay.

Patients will access the primary care Out of Hours service in the same way as they do now, by calling NHS 111.