Last week Calderdale CCG governing body approved the award of a new contract for wheelchair services to another organisation than CHFT, which currently provides these services.They have not yet named the successful bidder. [Update: Opcare is the company that has won the contract.] From September 2014, CHFT will no longer provide wheelchair services to the 3 Clinical Commissioning Groups – North Kirklees, Greater Huddersfield and Calderdale.
Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust (CHFT) has now provided information about their loss of the wheelchair services contract, but said,
“It is important to note that as at the time of this response, the Trust has not formally been notified of the CCG’s decision regarding the award of the tender therefore our response is subject to that formal notification. We have not yet been formally notified that we have not won the contract or who has been the successful bidder”
CHFT was one of the four organisations that bid for the new wheelchair services contract.
What will happen to staff who work in CHFT wheelchair services when the their contract ends in September? TUPE or not TUPE?
The Trust expects that Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) will apply and has received indication from the CCG that they believe that TUPE applies in this case – i.e. the service to be provided is fundamentally the same and will require similar skills and abilities. The Trust says it therefore expects that the 12 staff who work in CHFT’s Wheelchair Services will TUPE transfer to the new organisation. The Trust said,
“If this is the case we will work with the CCG and the new provider to progress and to engage with our staff during this period.”
However, there are concerns that TUPE may not apply here. Unison’s downloadable guide to the Health and Social Care Act 2012 says,
“The Department of Health has already made clear that TUPE will not apply for staff that end up working for new providers as a result of changes brought about by the Any Qualified Provider approach.”
Its unclear to Plain Speaker whether it is the Any Qualified Provider approach that has led the CCGs to re-procure the Wheelchair Services contract by competitive tender.
How will CHFT clinical staff work with the new wheelchair services provider?
The Trust said,
“We do not yet know who will be the new provider and so it is unclear how the organisations will work together going forward. However, the Trust works well with a number of different providers across the health and social care system now and we would hope that this will be the case going forward.”
Asked how much income CHFT will lose as a result of losing the wheelchair services contract with the 3 Clinical Commissioning Groups, CHFT said that it received income to offset staff and equipment costs.
What were the problems with CHFT’s wheelchair services that led the CCGs to decide to re-procure the contract?
The Trust said,
“This is really for the CCG to answer as to what led to their decision. There is a public paper available as part of their governing body papers on a review of the service and the result of public engagement on the service.”