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 could have cost up to £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.
But CCG Chairman Dr David Spraggett said he believed that ‘for now’ the new healthcare model would offer quality and value for money and is a quicker way to improve services.
A CCG spokesman said: “By extending the out of hospital programme to include the whole of Coventry and Warwickshire we recognise by working together for the benefit of patients, we can act at speed and at scale and so have a greater impact on services which can vastly improve the quality of life for people in Warwickshire.
“We have listened to local people and providers and recognised we can deliver improved outcomes for patients by aligning the programme with our county-wide Sustainability and Transformation Plan. This brings together health and social care commissioners and providers and it is right that, for now, we should work together to develop existing services rather than look for new providers.
“Joining forces this way shows the CCGs are demonstrating their commitment to working with a range to providers to develop a plan which will strengthen and refresh health and social care in Coventry and Warwickshire over the next five years.”
However, patients have made it clear to us that they want more responsive out of hospital care which better meets their needs and we remain committed to transforming and reshaping these services.”
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.”