Report into Care UK contract for GP-led clinic is approved

I’m very pleased that the report into Care UK being contracted to run Brighton & Hove’s GP-led clinic contract was approved by today’s full Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee. We’re going to keep watching Care UK’s performance very carefully given the criticism they’ve come under for other contracts across the country.

More detail in my press release which is copied below.

You can read the full panel report on the Council website here.

My earlier blog post on Care UK and private corporations getting involved in the NHS.

REPORT RAISES CONCERNS ABOUT QUALITY OF CARE AT NEW HEALTH CARE CENTRE

A special report looking at why Care UK was chosen to run Brighton’s new ‘GP-Led health centre’ has raised concerns about the ability of the company to deliver quality care. *

The report, produced by members of Brighton & Hove City Council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC), states ‘members still have reservations about Care UK’s ability to deliver the quality of care required it is evident that special measures must be put in place for monitoring the early progress of this contract.” **

Green City Cllr Jason Kitcat, who sits on HOSC and is also the Green Group of Cllrs’ spokesperson on Health issues said:

“Our investigation found problems with both the method used by the PCT to decide who should run the health centre, and their final choice of Care UK.

“The whole selection process seemed to unfairly favour big business over smaller and more local providers, because of the complex and intensive bid system.

“In choosing Care UK, the PCT have plumped for a company with a very mixed reputation – their management of the Sussex Orthopaedic Treatment Centre led the Healthcare commission to put it in special ‘measures’ after concerns were raised about hygiene among other things.

“In light of this, we’re urging the PCT to monitor the new health centre very closely and want a comprehensive update on how things are going after the first year.

“I’m really pleased we were able to find a cross-party consensus while drawing up this report, and would like also to commend the PCT for their co-operation with our investigation.”

ENDS

Notes for Editors:

Following detailed questioning by Cllr Jason Kitcat and members of Keep our NHS Public Brighton, the Chair of the Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee called for a panel to be formed in March 2009. The panel examined the process and bidders involved in the procurement process for a city centre GP-led health centre. These health centres are a national initiative created on the insistence of Labour health minister Lord Darzi.

The new ‘GP led health centre’ in Brighton opened on the 1st of July 2009, on Queen’s Rd, Brighton.

** Please see pages 65 – 66 of the report

For more information, please call Cllr Jason Kitcat on 07956 886 508