MSK contract report ‘does raise concerns’ for hospital services

A HUGELY controversial health contract may have to be ‘revisited’, one MP has indicated.

Thursday, 18th December 2014, 10:30 am
The accident and emergency unit at St Richard's which is said to be threatened by the contract

The findings of an eagerly-awaited impact assessment on the £235m musculoskeletal contract award to Bupa CSH Ltd are yet to be made public, though Tim Loughton, MP for Worthing has suggested it does ‘raise concerns about the impact on local hospital services’.

Speaking in his column for our sister paper the Worthing Herald, Mr Loughton said: “It looks as though common sense is breaking out over the controversial MSK contract.

“Sir Peter Bottomley MP and I met Worthing Hospital managers again last week, and the Impact Study jointly commissioned with the clinical commissioning group raises concerns about the impact on local hospital services and the contract will now have to be revisited.”

The £100,000 impact assessment has been jointly commissioned by Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Western Sussex Hospitals Trust, which runs St Richard’s and Worthing hospital.

The CCG has come under extreme scrutiny over its decision to award private consortium Bupa CSH Ltd the contract for all non-emergency MSK services across West Sussex.

County councillors, MPs and campaign groups have all spoken out after Western bosses made public fears that hospital services including A&E could suffer as a result of the contract.

Neither the CCG or the hospital trust would comment on the impact assessment, which was received on December 9 but is being kept secret, until they jointly release a summary to the public.

That is expected to happen before Christmas, though questions have been asked as to why the full findings won’t be made available to the members of the public who could be affected.

“This report, prepared for NHS bosses by PricewaterhouseCoopers, was studied by the CCG and hospital leaders and shared in private with the HASC, supposedly a public body, days ago but the public is being kept in the dark,” said Margaret Guest, chairman of Don’t Cut Us Out – a campaign group set up to protect the elderly in the wake of county cuts.

“When will the CCG tell us what the findings are?

“It is difficult not to draw the conclusion that the CCG is struggling to put a positive spin on the findings in a vain attempt to reassure the public regarding its potentially calamitous plans for MSK services.”

Katie Armstrong, the CCG’s chief clinical officer has insisted the changed services will remain free and local to patients.