26th June deadline for Kirklees NHS commissioners to reply to Freedom of Info request about award of £238m contract

A Kirklees resident is waiting for a reply to his Freedom of Information (FOI) request about the award of a £238m contract for “Care Closer to Home”. This 7 year contract is for community health services that include district nurses, health visitors, speech and language therapy, foot care and physiotherapy. The reply is due on Friday 26th June and Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group FOI team says,

“The CCG is mindful of the response deadline and expects to be in a position to respond by no later than 26th June.”

However, a reply doesn’t necessarily include the information that has been requested. So we shall have to wait and see if it does.

Terry Hallworth, who sent in the FOI request, said:

“The question is: has our CCG kept it within the NHS by awarding it to our hospital trust and GP’s, or given it to the private company Locala? Who say they operate as a non profit organisation whilst at the same time giving the directors a £27,000 pay rise whilst taking £40 off each nurse.
The CCG says it will tell us this Friday.
Remember there has been no public consultation on this huge contract.”

The contract was jointly tendered by Kirklees and Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Groups (the NHS organisations responsible for buying health services for people in Kirklees).

Both organisations announced on 13th May that they’d decided which of the two bidders to award the contract to, and that they would make this information public after the required 10 day standstill period, which ended on 27th May.

But 27th May came and went without any public announcement about whether the contract had gone to the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust consortium or to Locala  (the company that has provided Kirklees’s community health services since Kirklees NHS Primary Care Trust handed them over in 2010, via the New Labour government’s Transforming Community Services scheme.)

I asked Greater Huddersfield CCG if the delay was because the losing bidder had challenged the award of the £238m contract. They said they would announce the award of the contract in due course.

Terry Hallworth’s FOI request is online here.

1,258 Kirklees citizens recently petitioned Kirklees Council about their concerns over the privatisation of local health services and the shifting of money from NHS hospital services to the untried ‘Care Closer to Home’ strategy demanded by the Government, which aims to reduce hospital admissions by providing more care in the community.

Huddersfield Keep Our NHS Public also campaigns to keep the NHS publicly owned and run and opposes cuts and sell offs of the NHS.

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