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NHS 111 provider Harmoni still failing on key performance target
Beleaguered NHS helpline provider Harmoni is still failing to call hundreds of patients back in time – but bosses insist it is “on course” to meet improvement targets by the end of September.
A report heard at a Kingston clinical commissioning group (CCG) meeting this week revealed the 111 urgent care hotline operator was still falling “well below” its 90 per cent 10-minute callback target, although the number of calls answered within 60 seconds had increased.
But Grahame Snelling, chairman of public health scrutiny body Healthwatch Kingston, said he was still concerned by Harmoni’s performance.
He said: “It’s obviously not as good as it should be.
“I think the targets are reasonable. I had occasion to use it once myself and thought it worked very well, but clearly that isn’t everybody’s experience.
“We’ll be talking to Healthwatch members as to whether their experience is improving or not.
“I hope there will be a turn around.”
The company was due to be issued with an improvement notice by the South West London Commissioning Support Unit on August 16, although that has not yet been confirmed.
Things got worse for Harmoni after a patient experience survey also ranked its Kingston GP out-of-hours service in the lowest 20 per cent in the country.
Dr Naz Jivani, chairman of Kingston’s CCG, which pays for the out-of-hours service, said: “Although the number of callbacks has stabilised, it is still short of its 90 per cent target.
“Harmoni already has an improvement plan for that target, and a deadline for improvement has been set for the end of September.”
Harmoni’s regional director Dave Tee said: “Harmoni is working very closely with our commissioners to regularly review performance and we feel we are on course to produce the levels of improvement required to ensure all aspects of our service are at the high standard to which we aspire.
“Performance in many aspects of the service is robust and we are satisfied we have staffing levels which will enable us to achieve our targets.
“However, maintaining appropriate staffing levels is an ongoing challenge for all NHS 111 and out-of-hours providers and we have strategies in place, which we have shared with our commissioners, to ensure extra staff are brought in as and when necessary.”
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