camPaigners fighting to stop what they claim are ‘back-door’ privatisation moves by local NHS chiefs will attend a crunch meeting this week to voice their anger.
Members of the Southport branch of 38 Degrees, a UK wide group, will attend the meeting of the Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group today (Wednesday March 30) to deliver a petition with hundreds of local signatories, calling on the CCG to ‘Stop Privatising the NHS.’
Paul Bradshaw, a spokesperson for 38 Degrees Southport said: “We understand West Lancs CCG at its meeting in February has already excluded the existing NHS hospital provider from the tendering process for Community Nursing Services.
“We are trying to ensure Southport and Formby CCG is not intending to follow suit.
“It is totally unacceptable for the existing publicly owned NHS hospital not to be allowed to bid for a public health service.
“Awarding the contract to private health care providers will introduce a ‘profit culture’ which can only result in reduced services or skills capability in the longer term.
“This would be detrimental to the health of our townspeople and will lead to a fragmented and disjointed service.
“Non-inclusion of the NHS hospital in the bidding process is a game changer, it changes the current NHS privatisation by stealth to NHS privatisation by design. We are not going to let this go unchallenged.”
The Southport & Formby CCG meeting will take place from 1pm at The Family Life Centre, Ash Street, Southport.
Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “CCGs review the services they commission on an ongoing basis.
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When a contract comes to an end, they have a legal and statutory duty to further review and re-procure (or re-tender) services, to ensure they continue to meet the changing needs of local residents in the future, whilst at the same time continuing to provide the highest possible standards of quality and value for patients.
“We want to secure the best provider possible for the benefit of our patients and NHS organisations are not being excluded from bidding for NHS Southport and Formby CCG’s community services contract - this includes Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust - who can choose to bid for this contract like any other NHS and non-NHS organisation.
“Community services have an integral role in our five year strategy for healthcare. We believe that all local health services need to provide more joined up care, in order to provide patients and carers with appropriate quality services.
“Joined up care is about hospitals, community services, GPs, social care, the voluntary sector and other partners working more closely together to deliver the best services for our local population – NHS Southport and Formby CCG expects the new contract to be awarded to the successful bidder in late September 2016 and we will make this information available as soon as we are able to do so.”
Last summer NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS West Lancashire CCG agreed to tender the adult community services that have been provided by the Trust since 2011.
The first stage of the tender process is called the pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ). It is a shortlisting tool used to check the bidding organisation’s credentials as a healthcare provider. The Trust submitted its PQQs by the January deadline.
Southport and Formby CCG is still considering thier submission; however, NHS West Lancashire CCG announced in February that the Trust was unsuccessful in clearing this stage.