THE hospital trust for St Richard’s is putting together a plan for delivering new and improved musculoskeletal (MSK) services now it has been placed back in NHS hands.
Western Sussex Hospital Trust is one of a number of current providers for the set of services whose contract has been extended until September.
Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) decision to name the NHS bodies as its preferred provider for the new service, in the wake of Bupa CSH Ltd pulling out, has been welcomed by the trust.
Marianne Griffiths, chief executive of Western, told a recent board of directors meeting: “There were a number of options in terms of their (the CCG’s) discussions last week.
“Those options were that it continues with the procurement, so those second on the list would be offered the procurement; it could do nothing and decide to disband completely; it could go out to reprocure or it could ask the existing providers, which are us and others, to work collaborately with them to make the improvements instead.
“The decision was two-fold, to abandon the procurement and the second was wanting to work with us as an organisation, as the lead provider to work up a model for the delivery of improvements they wanted, but with us taking the lead.”
In announcing its decision to halt the procurement process, the CCG reiterated its desire to oversee a more ‘joined-up’ service for MSK which means less referrals for patients.
The hospital trust will now work collaboratively with Sussex Community NHS Trust and the other MSK providers, as well as with the CCG, to devise a new model for MSK.
Mrs Griffiths added: “We need to come up with a plan which demonstrates we can achieve these improvements, which I’m very confident we can.
“I’m delighted this is potentially a great outcome of the discussion and four-and-a-half months’ of public interest and debate.”
The CCG will next meet on March 24 and Dr Armstrong has said there is no guarantee the service will not be put back out to tender for fresh bids come September.
The Observer, Herald and Gazette’s A&E SOS campaign received 23,000 signatures to protect hospital services after the trust said originally losing the contract would put its accident and emergency units under threat.