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Prime Care

Volume 406: debated on Thursday 12 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many contracts and to what value have been awarded to Prime Care; how many complaints have been received about Prime Care in (a) 2002 and (b) 2003; and what evaluation he has carried out of the overnight speed of response of (i) Prime Care and (ii) NHS Direct. [114778]

[holding answer 20 May 2003]: Contracts with Prime Care are let locally by general practitioners, GP co-operatives arid others. Information is not held centrally on their number value, or any related complaints.The quality of out-of-hours primary medical care services is now being assured through the introduction of new arrangements for accrediting providers. Under this system, only organised out-of-hours providers which meet and maintain specified quality standards will be accredited by primary care trusts (PCTs) to continue providing services. The quality standards, which include responsiveness, are those recommended by The Carson Review of out-of-hours services, which reported in 2000. Both NHS Direct and Prime Care are expected to meet these standards and their performance is for PCTs to monitor as part of the new accreditation system.