Hospital care ‘at risk’ if contract is not mitigated

People from across the area attend Worthing Hospital's A&E department
People from across the area attend Worthing Hospital's A&E department

PATIENT care could be ‘seriously affected’ if the awarding of a controversial hospital services contract is not mitigated, an impact assessment has concluded.

Concerns surrounding the awarding of a £235 million contract for musculoskeletal services at Worthing Hospital to Bupa CSH prompted the assessment, which highlighted potential knock-on effects for the service.

Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are now working to address the issues raised.

Trust chairman Marianne Griffiths said: “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.”

A summary of the full report, carried out by PWC, discusses a range of best and worst case scenarios. It warns the trust could fall into deficit over the next five years as a result of losing MSK services.

West Sussex County Council health and adult social care select committee vice-chairman Dr James Walsh said: “Clearly, this was an exercise worth doing because there are potentially knock-on impacts on A&E, physiotherapy and radiotherapy and that didn’t show up on the initial study.

“It means they have got to find ways to negotiate that and make sure there is no continuing threat to A&E and orthopaedic services in Worthing and Chichester.

“It is supremely important that when change happens, particularly in the NHS, which people value so highly, that any change is thought through beforehand and we are not dealing with disaster recovery afterwards.”

For the full story, see the Herald, out Wednesday, December 24.