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Suffolk CCG GPs grant £140m contract to private firm

22 March 2012

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Suffolk GP CCG members have elected a private firm to take over the running of the region’s community health services.

Ed Garratt, Chief Operating Officer of West Suffolk CCG, told GPB two commissioning GPs were among the panel won over by international service company Serco’s bid.

He said the contract represented the “first big decision” for commissioning GPs in Suffolk.

Under the contract, Serco and its partners are expected to provide a wide range of community health services for over 600,000 patients in Suffolk.

They include: community nursing, specialist nursing, management and operation of community hospitals, speech and language therapy, specialist children’s services and community equipment services.

The deal is expected to be signed during the next few months and is due to start in Autumn 2012.

It has a total estimated value of £140m to Serco over three years.

“We have been determined to find the very best organisation to manage these community services in the future, to provide benefit and opportunity to our patients and staff,” said Dr Paul Watson, Chief Executive if NHS Suffolk.

“Serco has been carefully selected and has provided us with a detailed proposal, giving rigorous evidence of its experience as a service provider and its vision and innovative plans for further improving our community services.”

Serco has pledged to work with a range of NHS and third sector partners  to deliver the services set out in the contract.

“We are delighted to have been chosen by NHS Suffolk to deliver these vital services,” said Christopher Hyman, Chief Executive of Serco.

“By bringing together best in class partners, we believe that we have created an integrated model of service delivery that empowers clinicians, puts the patient at the heart of the service and will make community health in Suffolk a truly exemplary service.”

Serco also provides out of hours GP care in Cornwall.

“Serco has a terrible reputation for running the our of hours GP service in Cornwall. This was raised in the House Of Commons last week by Andrew George MP. Some are now alleging that Serco has fradulently manipulated data to show that the service performs well. It doesn’t. The Manager of Serco in Cornwall stated that the service was  “As a business we are
probably over-staffed,” said Mr Cole, who added it was well able to “manage the peaks and troughs” of patient demand. Talk to anyone that works for Serco out-of-hours service in Cornwall that isn’t a career Serco employee, and they will tell you that the service is significantly under-staffed. It beggars belief that NHS Suffolk could have awarded Serco a contract against this background, which no doubt was not known about
when the bids were being considered.” – Fred, Cornwall