The Care Quality Commission has told Vocare, known locally as Somerset Doctors Urgent Care, that it must make further improvements to its NHS 111 service and its GP Out of Hours service following a recent re-inspection of its services.

The GP Out of Hours service was placed into special measures in April 2017 and the CQC’s inspectors recently carried out a follow-up inspection to follow up progress against two Warning Notices which had been previously issued. The service remains in special measures.

Ruth Rankine, Deputy Chief Inspector of General Practice, said: “Out of hours services are a vital part of the urgent care system which takes pressure away from Accident and Emergency and GP services by allowing people to have easy access to healthcare and advice.”

“I am disappointed to see that Vocare are still not demonstrating that it can provide the service that patients need and we have issued a further four warning notices to ensure significant improvements are taking place and will continue to monitor the services.”

“Services need to demonstrate that they are ensuring people with the most urgent needs are prioritised at times of high demand, and to ensure that care and advice is delivered safely and effectively, and they are referred to the right service as quickly as possible when necessary.”

“We are aware that there have been many changes within the operational structure of Vocare and did see aspects of good care during our inspection provided by committed staff who treated patients courteously and with dignity and respect.”

“The leadership of Vocare have provided assurances to us that it now has oversight of the issues and are making the improvements necessary. We will continue to work closely with our stakeholders including Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group to monitor and inspect the service to ensure that improvements are put in place.”

In the NHS111 service CQC has told Vocare that it must make a number of improvements including ensuring:

• all patients are treated with dignity and respect.
• care and treatment is provided in a safe way to patients.
• effective systems and processes are established to ensure good governance in accordance with the fundamental standards of care.
• sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, competent, skilled and experienced persons are deployed to meet the fundamental standards of care and treatment.
• serious incidents, deaths or safeguarding referrals are subject to statutory notifications to the Care Quality Commission.

Full reports of both inspections have been published at