MSK contract would have ‘serious effect’ on St Richard’s Hospital

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ROLLING out a controversial new set of musculoskeletal (MSK) services would have a ‘serious effect’ on patient care at St Richard’s Hospital, a report has found.

Some details from an impact assessment into how a £235m MSK contract going to Bupa CSH Ltd would affect hospital services have finally been revealed.

Due to the timing of its release, on Tuesday, December 23, the Observer will publish fuller details of its findings in the new year

NHS chiefs, however, have admitted it shows there would be ‘financial and clinical impacts on hospital services’.

Marianne Griffiths, chief executive of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, warned: “The joint impact assessment demonstrates that an MSK service run by Bupa CSH would have serious clinical and financial implications that, if not mitigated, would seriously affect the care we are able to provide for patients in our hospitals.

“We are now looking at the cost, viability and practicality of the mitigations needed to guarantee that no patients are adversely affected by the new contract proposals.”

Bosses from Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), who handed Bupa the deal for all elective MSK services across West Sussex, are bound by the report’s findings.

But Dr Katie Armstrong, clinical chief officer, insisted the CCG is working with the hospital trust and Bupa CSH to ‘address the points raised to make sure hospital services are not adversely affected’.

Dr Armstrong said: “The CCG remains committed to improving the way patients with an MSK condition receive their services.

“The impact assessment has given us the opportunity to fully explore the financial and clinical implications of the contract award.

“We are looking forward to working with Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Bupa CSH to understand the mitigating actions, and we remain committed to improving MSK services for patients.”

The new services are due to be rolled out on April 1, 2015.