Health boss ‘extremely disappointed’ to lose £13m community services contract
Community care services are being shaken up after health bosses handed a contract to Sussex Community NHS Trust (SCT) – over existing providers East Sussex Healthcare Trust (ESHT).
ESHT, which runs Eastbourne DGH and Conquest Hospital, Hastings, lost out after High Weald, Lewes and the Havens Clinical Commissioning Group (HWLH CCG) awarded the contract to the SCT – its ‘preferred bidder’. The contract is worth £13million a year.
Dr Sarah Perry, HWLH CCG clinical lead for community services said: “Feedback from local patients and GPs had highlighted some of the difficulties faced by community services and some inconsistences in the way care was provided for local patients across our reach.
“As local commissioners, we are committed to investing in community services and the new contract will mean improvements in clinical outcomes for local people through more integrated services and with more care provided closer to where people live and in their local community.”
The changes will affect around 150,000 people in the area and 250 members of staff, including district nurses, therapists, mental health and social care practitioners – a full list of services affected is below.
ESHT chief executive Darren Grayson said: “Naturally we are extremely disappointed that our bid to provide community services in the High Weald, Lewes and Havens area was unsuccessful.
“We believe we put forward a strong bid because we have considerable experience in providing community services and are the only integrated provider of acute and community care in Kent, Surrey and Sussex. We will work with our commissioners to ensure there is no impact on the integrated care services we provide the vast majority of the patients elsewhere in the county.”
“This decision affects a relatively small number of our staff (250 out of over 6,500) but we know that this period of change will be of concern to them so we will work with the new provider to ensure the transfer of services is managed well.
“I would like to thank all the staff in these services for their input into the bid and for their hard work and dedication during what has been a very unsettling time for them.
“As well as supporting staff through the changes our priority will be to continue to provide high quality community services to High Weald Lewes and Havens patients until the transfer of services are complete.”
A spokesman for HWLH CCG said the services will be delivered through ‘clusters of GP practices’ supported by district nurses, therapists and mental health and social care practitioners.
The SCT will ‘expand the range of services delivered through community hospitals and improve links to local acute hospitals’.
Paula Head, chief executive of Sussex Community NHS Trust said: “I am delighted that SCT has been successful in this bid.
“Patient care is at the heart of what we do as a community Trust and this is an exciting opportunity to extend our services to a wider Sussex population. We have innovative plans to work in partnership to ensure the very best services are available. Our vision is for people to experience excellent, localised, seamless healthcare and we look forward to working with the CCG to make this a reality for people in the High Weald Lewes Havens area.”
Beth Simons, Chair of Patient Participation Groups in High Weald said: “What I have seen is a dedicated team of health professionals and officers seeking the voice of patients throughout the process and listening to and respecting what we have to say. Our vision for local services is the same.”
The services affected by the change are: District Nursing, Advanced Community Nurse Practitioners, Minor Injuries and Illness Units, Community Diagnostics, Intermediate Care Beds, Community Neurological Rehabilitation Service, Rapid Response Service, Community Occupational Therapy, Dietetics, Speech and Language Therapy, Community Respiratory Service,Community Heart Failure Service, Continence Service, Tissue Viability Service, Parkinson’s Disease Specialist Nurse Service, Multiple Sclerosis Specialist Nurse Service, End of Life Care Service.
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