A CAMPAIGN group fighting to stop local health services from being privatised claim they are being ignored by NHS bosses.
South Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group recently announced plans to put community services out to tender.
The CCG currently pay South Warwickshire Foundation Trust (SWFT) to run out-of-hospital services such as community matrons, district nurses, end of life care, hospice and palliative care.
Plans for privatisation were met with anger by members of campaign group South Warwickshire Keep Our NHS Public, who argue residents have never been asked their opinion.
Group chairwoman Anna Pollert said: “We wrote to SWCCG board members as soon as the agenda for the meeting – which discussed the plans – was made public, just three working days before the meeting.
“This late notice, as we pointed out, broke the CCG’s own standing orders, which state that at least five working days’ notice should be given for a meeting.
“We made a carefully reasoned case as to why competitive tendering should not be pursued but the meeting ignored our letter and SWCCG did not even have the courtesy to acknowledge, let alone reply to us.”
But SWCCG say the correct protocols were followed.
Chairman David Spraggett told the Observer: “The views of our stakeholders are very important and we will always consider those perspectives, but we have to make sure that we consider all relevant information and legislation as a statutory organisation.
“The CCG considers the approved route the most appropriate having considered the factors. The process will follow the correct requirements to secure the needs of NHS users, improve the quality of services, the efficiency with which they are provided and to provide best value for money. This will be done in a manner proportionate to the value, complexity and clinical risk of providing out of hospital care.”
SWFT say they plan to bid for the services, but fear they will face stiff competition from private companies with more funds.
The trust could even partner with a private healthcare provider to try and keep the service.
At a recent meeting trust chief executive Glen Burley said: “SWCCG have agreed to use a competitive process which is likely to attract private sector competition. We have registered our disappointment with this decision as we felt that there were faster, more cost effective approaches which would have a less destabilising impact on staff.
“We now need to focus on winning the contract and plan to engage some external support to help us to present proposals in the most positive light and to give us some more capacity to respond to the procurement process.
“Our proposal will demonstrate we have a unique opportunity to deliver more care outside of the hospital setting and that we are in the strongest position to positively influence the health and well-being of our population.”