10th Dec, 2016

Common sense prevails but at a 'shocking' cost

Stratford Editorial 8th May, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

OUT of hospital services in south Warwickshire are no longer at risk of privatisation.

South Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) had planned to put its £227 million contract – which is currently run by South Warwickshire Foundation Trust (SWFT) – out to tender.

It would have meant services including end of life care, district nurses and hospice care could have been taken over by a private company. There had been fears jobs could have been at risk.

But in a dramatic turnaround the CCG – which had said it wanted to improve services, efficiency and value for money – has announced it is no longer going ahead with the tendering process, which has so far cost it £300,000.

CCG bosses have instead chosen to team up with Rugby and North Warwickshire CCGs, meaning the three groups will now work with providers – including SWFT – on the contract.

And the CCG has also started paying the trust £8million for services which had been provided but not paid for.

Trust chief executive Glen Burley said he was pleased the money was finally being paid and believed the best decision had been made regarding the out of hospital contract.

Mr Burley told The Observer: “Staff providing out of hospital services are now free from the distraction of worrying about their future and instead can continue to focus on providing the best care to our local population.

“By aligning this project to the wider health economy we can ensure we can benefit from our whole-Warwickshire community and get best value from our precious NHS resources.”

Campaign group South Warwickshire Keep Our NHS Public said the ‘right decision’ had come at a ‘shocking’ cost to the taxpayer.

When contacted by The Observer this week, the CCG did not offer an explanation for the sudden decision not to pursue a private contractor.

CCG Chairman Dr David Spraggett said he believed the new healthcare model would offer quality and value for money.

He said: “Patients have told us that they want a health and social care system that is better joined up and easier to navigate. They also want more control over their care and more of their care delivered closer to home.”

Warwick and Leamington MP Chris White, who previously spoke out about his concern with the contract changing hands, believes the tendering process was a waste of time and spoke of his relief at the outcome.

He said: “I have been very concerned about what the CCG was planning and I’m really relieved they have come to this decision and I hope they can get around the table and work with the trust as soon as possible.

“This is the best decision for everyone and I am glad common sense prevailed.”