A FURTHER delay has been announced to plans to reveal how a £235 orthopaedic contract being handed to the private sector will affect other health services, including accident and emergency at St Richard’s Hospital.
The findings of an independent assessment currently being carried out was expected to be disclosed at a meeting in Chichester on December 5, but that now won’t happen until the new year.
The county council’s health and adult social care select committee (HASC) will still meet on Friday, December 5, where an update will be given about the new NHS musculoskeletal (MSK) services will be rolled out by new provider Bupa CSH Ltd.
The HASC meeting had already been pushed back from an earlier date in November, while the rolling out of the new MSK services has also been delayed, from its original date of January 1 to March 31.
The independent impact assessment has been jointly commissioned by Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the body who handed the contract to consortium Bupa CSH Ltd, and Western Sussex Hospital Trust, which runs St Richard and Worthing Hospital.
HASC has welcomed the news of the independent assessment, which it hopes will provide a clearer picture of how hospital services will be affected by the change in provider for non-emergency MSK services.
Margaret Evans said: “We are pleased to hear the impact assessment is underway. This is a positive step by the CCG and the Trust.
“It is right that both organisations give us an update on progress and next steps at our meeting on 5 December, although we understand that the outcomes of this impact assessment won’t be available in time for the HASC meeting.
“It may be that a full update won’t be available until the New Year. We now need to be patient and allow time for the impact assessment to be carried out and the implications assessed.
“The MSK contract is a matter of significant concern to the committee and to the public and everyone wants to make sure that all the implications are fully assessed, including what, if any, impact on local trauma services. It is important that these results are made public.”
Musculoskeletal services deal with a variety of conditions affecting people’s muscles, bones and joints and range from hospital services such as orthopaedic surgery to services provided in the community such as physiotherapy and pain management.
The major warning about potential knock-on damage to accident and emergency and other services was sounded by the hospital trust, which jointly lost the contract.
The CCG has repeatedly statement that destabalising any health services was never its intention, and both parties have agreed to abide by the findings of the impact assessment.