• University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust takes over A&E streaming service from Vocare
  • Trust’s actions come following a CQC inspection into the private provider’s urgent care service 
  • According to sources the CQC has raised concerns about Vocare’s staffing levels

A trust in the West Midlands has taken over the A&E streaming service run by a private provider following “concerns” raised by the CQC

The University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust has taken over a GP streaming service run by Vocare, one of the largest private providers of urgent care and out of hours services in England.

Multiple sources told HSJ the trust had been commissioned by the local CCGs after the a recent inspection into Vocare’s urgent care centre in North Staffordshire, by the Care Quality Commission which raised concerns including staffing levels.

Vocare also runs NHS 111 services for Staffordshire.

In a board paper, published this month, UHNM said: “The CCG has temporarily commissioned UHNM to provide the streaming service at [Royal Stoke University Hospital] while Vocare respond to CQC concerns.

“The CQC have restricted UHNM on what patients can be streamed to Vocare, which has led to Vocare seeing approximately 27 less patients a day.”

A GP out-of-hours service in Staffordshire, also run by Vocare, was rated requires improvement by the CQC earlier this month.

In its report the CQC said the provider must: “ensure sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, competent, skilled and experienced persons are deployed to meet the fundamental standards of care and treatment.”

A CQC spokesman told HSJ: “CQC has not placed restrictions on this service. We are aware that the hospital chose to take some action following the inspection.”

A spokesman from Vocare said the organisation was working with North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Univsersity Hospitals of North Midlands Trust to improve the streaming model. 

They added: ”The clinical model has been reviewed and developed to ensure patients who arrive at A&E are ‘streamed’ to receive fast access to the most appropriate treatment in the right place, whether that be in A&E for the most serious illnesses or the Urgent Care Centre for problems that cannot wait to be dealt with by a patient’s own GP.

”Whilst this review was being undertaken, it was agreed that patients attending A&E would be triaged by emergency department clinicians working for Royal Stoke University Hospital. This was a temporary measure whilst the new clinical model was being finalised and the Urgent Care Centre relocates to fully refurbished new premises.

“We anticipate that Staffordshire Doctors Urgent Care will be implementing the newly agreed streaming model very shortly and this part of the patient pathway will revert to being delivered by primary care clinicians. The new premises will provide a very high standard of clinical environment for patients attending Royal Stoke University Hospital with urgent problems.”