A FORMER chairman of the NHS trust which runs Worthing Hospital has criticised the decision to award a £235 million musculoskeletal services contract to a private firm, calling it ‘clearly inapproriate’.
Hywel Evans, who resigned as chairman of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in 2011, said he failed to understand why the Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group had made the decision to award the contract to BUPA CSH Ltd, instead of the trust.
“It seems to me that the CCG have simply not thought through the implications of such a decision and the impact this will have on other essential services such as accident and emergency care supplied by the hospital trust,” said Mr Evans.
The decision to a award BUPA with the contract has raised many questions.
Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, and Sir Peter Bottomley, MP for Worthing West, have submitted a list of questions to Dr Katie Armstrong, clinical chief officer for the Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group.
They have requested to see a copy of the impact assessment carried out by the CCG, and asked how the contract would impact both Worthing Hospital and its patients.
Mr Evans has raised questions of his own. He said: “How will Western Sussex Hospitals be able to continue to run emergency trauma and orthopaedic services within the Trust, services that usually run at a loss but are made possible by the lucrative delivery of musculoskeletal services?
“What happens if a procedure being undertaken by BUPA causes life threatening complications, are these patients then treated by BUPA, I doubt it, they will be treated by Western Sussex Hospitals usually at a huge cost. This then raises the point about patient safety.”
Mr Evans has asked for the decision to be reconsidered ‘as a matter of urgency’ and has labelled it ‘clearly inappropriate’.
He added: “As a taxpayer and a patient, please reconsider.”