Hospitals Trust calls for Monitor investigation into award of £238m contract to Locala

Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust (the hospitals Trust) has told staff that it is lodging a formal complaint with Monitor (the NHS competition enforcer) about the Clinical Commissioning Groups’ (CCGs) award of the £238m Kirklees community health services contract to Locala.

The hospitals Trust had also bid for the contract, in partnership with the three Federations representing GPs across Kirklees (PHH, Rowan and CURO), Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals Trust and Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice.

Once Greater Huddersfield and North Kirklees CCGs had publicly announced that Locala had got the contract, Owen Williams, the hospital Trust Chief Executive, emailed staff: Continue reading

Calderdale and Kirklees Councillors must solve Care Closer to Home contract mystery at Joint Health Scrutiny Committee on Monday

Anyone who wants to find out about the sell off of our NHS, and understand how this is going to affect patient care, has their work cut out as the plot thickens around the £238m Huddersfield and North Kirklees contract for Care Closer To Home.

This contract is to take services out of the hospital and integrate them into community health and social care services for chronically ill and frail elderly people, with the aim of cutting acute and A&E hospital admissions and services. This is in order to cut NHS spending. Otherwise a £22bn NHS funding gap is predicted to open up by 2020.

The award of the contract has been at a standstill for a month. Yesterday the Health Service Journal reported that the massive contract has gone to a consortium led by Locala, the community health company that was set up in 2010 with staff and assets transferred from NHS Kirklees Primary Care Trust.

The organisations involved – the Clinical Commissioning Groups and Locala – maintain that the contract is still at a “standstill”.

Despite the confusion, Calderdale and Kirklees Councils’ Joint Health Scrutiny Committee (JHSC), which meets in Huddersfield Town Hall, 10.30 am on Monday 29th June, has no plans to ask Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group what’s going on. Which rather gives the lie to their earlier promise that they would closely scrutinise this contract. Continue reading

Virgin Care’s Meadowdale GP centres contract to be extended despite unanswered quality and cost questions

Without ever mentioning the private health care companies by name, a recommendation to extend Calderdale’s Virgin Care and Locala GP contracts without putting them out to tender was agreed pretty much as a formality at the first meeting of Calderdale’s Commissioning Primary Medical Services Committee.

The Virgin Care GP contract was the main topic of discussion, since it runs out this September. The extension will take it up to April 2017.

The possibility of not extending the Virgin Care contract was only mentioned once and then dismissed immediately, on the grounds that this risked causing the company to walk away, and patients would have to find other GPs.

But no one could answer questions about the Virgin Care GP practice’s quality and value for money. Continue reading

Future of VirginCare’s GP practices contract to be decided at NHS bosses meeting in Halifax today

This afternoon at 4.15pm Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group’s new Commissioning Primary Medical Services Committee will meet in public at the Elsie Whiteley Innovation Centre on Hopwood Lane, to decide on its terms of reference.

It will then consider a recommendation to extend the Alternative Provider Medical Services (APMS) GP contract with VirginCare, which is shortly to run out.

Richard Branson’s private health care company has run the three Meadowdale GP practices for some years – unbeknown to most patients and members of the public, as I found out a while ago. Continue reading

Locala health care company wins massive community health contract in Kirklees but NHS commissioners are saying nowt

The Health Service Journal has reported that Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group and North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group have finally announced that they have awarded the £285m/£238m (various accounts of the value) contract for Care Closer to Home community health services to Locala, the company that took over Kirklees’ NHS community health services in 2010, under New Labour’s Transforming Community Services scheme.

The Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs),  Locala and the CHFT hospitals trust are still not saying a thing publicly about the contract award, although NK CCG messaged me,

“We are currently continuing to work through the process and will publicise the details when we are able to do so.”

Continue reading

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. Continue reading

#Calderdale Council privatises School Nursing Service

The dismemberment of our NHS proceeds apace.

On 7th January, the private community health care company Locala announced that Calderdale Council has awarded them two new NHS contracts in Calderdale.

The Council has taken away these contracts from our hospitals Trust, which is in the middle of serious financial problems. Continue reading

NHS privatisation quango’s secret meeting about recommissioning NHS community care contracts worth £hundreds of millions

The Board of  Monitor (the Ofgem of the NHS, ie the quango that promotes “competition” in the NHS “market”) met on 29th October to deliberate in secret about re-commissioning NHS community services like Locala’s in Kirklees.

Agenda item 7 asked the Monitor Board to note, in secret, “significant developments with regard to the work of the Co-operation and Competition directorate.”

They say if the public knew what the directorate had found, this would “inhibit the free frank disclosure of information.” Continue reading

Report on North Halifax public drop in session on future of Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS

Janet Bertola attended the  public “engagement” drop in session about the future of Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS and social care at New Beginnings, North Halifax on 10th June.  This is Janet’s report:

I got there at about 2.30pm and by the open door there was a large 2 metre free-standing poster advertising the event. The hall was laid out in areas with posters and staff from the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the Hospitals Trust and Locala available to talk.  It would have been better if the staff wore name tags so you could see who you were talking to and what organisation they represented, although the Locala staff member was clearly identifiable since she wore a uniform. Continue reading

Slaithwaite resident says ‘future of A&Es’ drop in session was like wrestling with fog


Martin Jones, a Slaithwaite resident, reports on his experience of the Slaithwaite public drop in session yesterday (30th May) about the future of Calderdale and Huddersfield hospitals and community healthcare. He notes that the information on display at the drop in didn’t mention proposals for closing/downgrading one or both A&Es – proposals that have met with widespread public opposition. Continue reading