The provision of the out-of-hours GP service in Cornwall

Document type
Corporate author(s)
Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons. Committee of Public Accounts
Date of publication
11 July 2013
House of Commons papers. Session 2013/14; HC 471
Health Services
Social welfare
Material type

Download (1MB )

Out-of-hours services provide urgent primary care when GP surgeries are closed. In early 2012 whistleblowers raised concerns that the out-of-hours service in Cornwall was short staffed and that the contractor, Serco, had lied about its performance by altering data. Serco provides the service under a £32 million five-year contract with the primary care trust, NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, until 31 March 2013, and since 1 April 2013 with Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group.

Evidence has confirmed that what the whistleblowers in Cornwall were saying was substantially true. However, Serco appears to have had a bullying culture and management style which inhibited whistleblowers from being open in the patients' interest. The company responded to stories placed in the press by whistleblowers in a heavy handed way, launching internal investigations and searching employees lockers when issues were raised, and staff were fearful of raising concerns. Serco initially denied the concerns raised by whistleblowers and it was only after reports appeared in the press that it started to accept that things were wrong. Most concerning was the fact that Serco staff altered data on 252 occasions, resulting in Serco overstating the performance it reported to the primary care trust. Serco could not explain what motivated the two staff concerned to act in this way. These two staff were not paid a bonus, but Serco conceded that the contract manager had been paid a bonus which was linked to performance. The staff have since left the company. The terms of their departure included confidentiality agreements, but Serco offered no convincing explanation of why this was necessary.

Related to TSO

BHS: First Report of the Work and Pensions Committee and Fourth Report of the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee of Session 2016-17. Report together with formal minutes relating to the report

BHS (British Home Stores), which was founded in 1928, was bought by Sir Philip Green in 2000. It became part of the Taveta group, which is ultimately controlled by Lady Green, in 2009. On 11 March 2015

A reconsideration of tax credit cuts: report, together with formal minutes relating to the report

The 2015 Summer Budget proposed draconian cuts to in-work tax credits in 2016-17. Even when combined with the welcome increase in the income tax personal allowance and the National Living Wage, these

Education, skills and productivity: commissioned research

The Education Committee and the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee agreed to carry out joint work on the contribution that education and skills make to productivity. In preparation for this work,

Welfare-to-work: report, together with formal minutes relating to the report

The Work Programme has streamlined the procurement of welfare-to-work, created a stable, GB-wide welfare-to-work infrastructure, and now produces a similar level of job outcomes for mainstream participants

More items related to this publisher