Serco's contract to manage Cornwall's out-of-hours GP service on behalf of the NHS comes to a close after nine years of service, when the service is handed over to the new providers, Cornwall Health at the end of May.
Since 2012 when the service faced a number of problems, Serco has made substantial investments in the service, which resulted in major improvements for patients. In particular, Serco significantly increased the number of doctors and clinical staff, ensuring that people could be seen quickly and provided with the appropriate medical care, whenever and where ever they are in Cornwall.
Independent survey results have shown that 96.2% of patients rated Serco's service as fair, good or excellent and since the introduction of the 'Friends and Family test', 94.4% of patients would recommend the out-of-hours service to their friends and family. Furthermore, all National Quality Requirements for seeing and treating patients within two and six hour deadlines and Serco's contractual obligations with NHS Kernow's have all been fully met. In July 2013 the Care Quality Commission confirmed that Serco's service was meeting all the required standards.
Commenting on the end of the contract, Stephanie Gray-Roberts, Serco's Contract Director, said: "We leave the Cornwall GP out-of-hours service in an excellent condition. Most importantly, patients in Cornwall have consistently told us that we have been providing a good service and today it is arguably one of the best such services in the country. We are really proud of what our team has achieved here in recent years. Our employees will all be transferring to Cornwall Health and we have been working closely with Cornwall Health over the past weeks to ensure a smooth transition. We wish them every success for the future."
Serco first won a five year contract to run the GP out of hours service in Cornwall in 2006 and was awarded a further five year contract in October 2011. In December 2013 Serco announced that it was withdrawing from providing clinical healthcare services and in 2014 a decision was made jointly with Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group to bring forward the end of this contract to 31 May 2015.