PRESSURE continues to build on the county’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) after a GP said she was ‘ashamed’ to be associated with it because of its decision to hand a £235m musculoskeletal contract to the private sector.
Dr Joana Monjardino’s damning words came at the end of a public meeting in Worthing organised in support of our A&E SOS campaign, jointly run with our sister paper the Worthing Herald.
The Monday night meeting saw 120 residents, councillors and health care professionals voice their concerns over the decision to give a contract to run all elective orthopaedic services to Bupa CSH Ltd instead of the hospital trust.
The most telling contribution came during public question time when Dr Monjardino, from Northbourne Medical Centre in Shoreham, said many GPs disagreed with the decision.
She said: “The problems we are facing are based on competitive tendering. It’s not a way forward, it never has been the ethos of the NHS.
“The CCG was incredibly enthusiastic about this. I don’t doubt they have got good intentions but I don’t think they have got the right head for running a publicly accountable service.
“I have been told by people in the CCG board that the NHS is dying and we need to accept this. I find that deeply insulting. I was horrified when I heard that.
“I’m a member of the CCG and I would like to say to everybody here today that there are a lot of GPs who don’t agree with the CCG. I feel ashamed to be associated with them and I don’t feel my voice is heard by them.”
Last week the CCG announced a delay in the handover of MSK services to Bupa, pushed back from January 1 to March 31, 2015.
This is to allow an independent impact assessment to be carried to rule on whether the contract will have any adverse affect on A&E or other health services at St Richard’s and Worthing hospitals as trust chiefs fear.
But that assessment has also now come into question.
A joint statement from Don’t Cut Us Out, CWS 38 Degrees and Health Alert said: “This impact assessment, though welcomed, is very late in the day. It leaves a big question mark over the competency the CCG to try and make such a momentous decision to spend so much public money without considering the impact this contract could have on other NHS services.
“We also question why the public is being kept in the dark about the terms and scope of this assessment – just as it has been with the whole service redesign.
“Campaign groups have made repeated requests for information and all have been ignored.”
The CCG has repeatedly stated it has no intention to undermine hospital services and has vowed to accept the finding of the report, which is expected to be revealed at the next health and social adult care committee (HASC) meeting in Chichester on December 5.