The out-of-hours provider that hired German locum Dr Daniel Ubani - who accidentally killed a patient by administering a lethal overdose - is to have its NHS contract terminated.
NHS Cambridgeshire is cancelling its relationship with Take Care Now (TCN) after becoming “dissatisfied” with the company’s progress, a spokesman said.
The company hit the headlines after Dr Ubani accidentally gave 70-year-old David Gray ten times the recommended dose of a painkiller in February 2008.
A Care Quality Commission report into the company was announced after the death, the findings of which are expected early next year. An interim statement from the commission, published in October, called on all PCTs to scrutinise out-of-hours services more closely.
NHS Cambridgeshire officials said they had carried out 20 unannounced inspections and 13 spot checks since Mr Gray’s death. The primary care trust said spot checks had identified “further deficiencies” in cover provided by TCN leading to it being served a formal remedial notice in September.
Chris Banks, chief executive of NHS Cambridgeshire, said: “We recently became dissatisfied with the progress being made and concerned about TCN’s overall performance, such that on 18 September we served a formal remedial notice under the contract. The Care Quality Commission then published its interim statement on 2 October in which it referred to concern about unfilled shifts.
“The following weekend our healthcare governance team followed up with an unannounced spot check and, despite the Care Quality Commission’s findings the previous weekend, found further deficiencies in the shift cover provided by TCN,” he said.
“With this additional evidence of failure to provide the contracted services we decided to issue a termination notice ending our contract for these services with effect from 1 December,” Mr Banks added.
Take Care Now said in a statement that it had decided not to contest the decision to terminate its contract. Take Care Now medical director Jim Kennedy said: “Despite many months of discussion with the PCT unfortunately we could not agree on a number of issues relating to the design and delivery of out-of-hours services to meet the needs of patients in a rural community.
“We have been working hard to find common ground with NHS Cambridgeshire on the delivery of out-of-hours services - especially in relation to our adaptable approach in the use of resources which our experience and analysis indicates delivers better patient care. We will not be contesting the decision to end the contract nine weeks early.”
CAMDOC - a consortium of local Cambridgeshire GPs, which currently provides out-of-hours services to Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire - will provide OOH cover until a new contract begins in April.