The Independent London Newspaper
24th May 2017

Investigation into death of baby who died nine hours after being seen by doctor from private out-of-hours GP company

    Linda Peanberg King, whose baby boy Axel died last November, with Candy Udwin

    Linda Peanberg King, whose baby boy Axel died last November, with Candy Udwin

    Published: 18 November, 2013
    by TOM FOOT

    AN investigation has been launched after an infant died nine hours after being seen by a doctor working for the private company running Camden’s out-of-hours GP service.

    Camden’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said the “serious incident”, which took place in September, had been reported to them by Harmoni.

    The company – which was criticised following the death of seven-month-old baby Axel Peanberg King last November – said infants’ health can “change rapidly” and that they hoped to “shed some light on what happened” after their investigation had concluded.

    Harmoni’s regional director Dave Tee said: “Firstly, we would like to offer our sincerest condolences to the parents over the tragic loss of their infant. Harmoni notified the CCG on September 24 of the infant’s death. 

    “As is the case with any unexpected death, a multi-agency investigation was immediately launched. Harmoni can confirm that our service received a call via NHS 111 at 11.53pm on September 23. The call was prioritised as urgent and a GP visited the family home 50 minutes later. The GP has been a practicing doctor for 30 years, and has been registered as a GP in the UK since 1997.

    “The baby was thoroughly examined and the doctor was satisfied that no immediate action was required but advised the parents to see their own GP in the morning to review the infant or to contact 999 immediately if they felt the infant’s condition was worsening.

    “Infants’ conditions can change quite rapidly. We are awaiting the results of the investigation which we hope will shed some light on what happened in the nine hours between our GP’s visit and the infant’s death. All our doctors are fully qualified and undergo a robust induction programme.”

    The company’s contract with the NHS was put under review following the death of Axel Peanberg King. The baby boy died after being kept waiting for four hours, at a time when Harmoni was struggling with a shortage of staff.

    The CCG said Harmoni had 45 days in which to complete its “root cause analysis investigation” and submit a final report.

    The CCG last week published details of an independent report on Harmoni’s performance in Camden by the Primary Care Foundation. The PCF that said the service was running “above average” and that concerns over staffing levels and training, identified by the Care Quality Commission health watchdog last May, had been resolved.

    Candy Udwin, chairwoman of Camden Keep Our NHS Public, which campaigns against privatisation in the NHS, said: “This is a truly tragic event. And, it is the second death of an infant in the care of the Harmoni’s out-of-hours service in less than a year. Although we welcome the improvements mentioned in the PCF report, this death happened after the PCF report was finalised.”

    A CCG spokeswoman said: “Camden CCG offers its condolences to the family involved in this case. With any unexpected death the provider conducts an internal investigation into its circumstances as part of usual practice and in line with the National Serious Incident (SI) process. Camden CCG is waiting for the report from Harmoni to be finished and will then be able to comment further.”

    A review of this child’s death will be carried out by Camden Council’s Safeguarding Children Board’s Child Death Overview Panel.

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