latest health care news

16.03.11

NHS Devon considers outsourcing children’s services

Private firms are bidding to run children’s services at NHS Devon, it has emerged. The companies in competition for the three-year, £130m contract are Virgin Care and Serco, as well as Devon Partnership NHS Trust, Barnardo’s and other charities.

The services include palliative care for the dying, treatment for mental health, therapy and respite care for disabled children and child protection.

The announcement comes in the same week that the trust running George Eliot Hospital in the West Midlands said that it was investigating the possibility of bringing in another NHS trust or a private firm to manage it. Supporters of this type of competition maintain that it can drive standards up and keep costs down, yet opponents suggest that it risks putting profit before patient safety.

The contract will be awarded to the ‘most economically advantageous’ bid, according to criteria listed on the European Commission website. The final bids will be evaluated in May.

NHS Devon’s director of strategic commissioning, Jayne Carroll, said the aim of contracting out the services was “to secure the best possible service and improve outcomes for children and young people while continuing to strengthen integrated community-based health and social care”.

A spokesman for health secretary Andrew Lansley said: “We support patient choices and whoever is best getting the contracts. We reject the idea that because a private company might get it, it is privatisation.”

Health minister Simon Burns said: “The health bill is not relevant to this tender – local commissioners are following procurement rules issued by the previous Labour government.

“The health bill is the first piece of legislation that prevents discrimination in favour of private health companies over the NHS. In addition, it introduces safeguards to ensure patients can continue to access services, closing a hole left by the previous government.”

Professor Terence Stephenson, president of the RCPCH, said: “Children’s services are complex, as some tragic high-profile incidents have shown. It is essential that any provider has proven expertise in managing not only clinical services but also key areas such as safeguarding and, on the face of it, it does not appear that all of the shortlisted bidders have experience in managing such services.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@nationalhealthexecutive.com

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

The NHS needs more senior women in leadership

The NHS needs more senior women in leadership

The gender pay gap in the NHS remains a hotly debated topic, especially as the final report from the Gender Pay Gap in Medicine Review approaches. Andrea Hester, deputy director of employment relati more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News

comment

Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

13/06/2019Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

Nurses have been named as the most under-appreciated public sector professi... more >

interviews

NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

Over 20 years ago, a Teesside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took st... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

An ageing population means hand care and injury prevention is more important than ever

23/08/2019An ageing population means hand care and injury prevention is more important than ever

Grey Giddins, member of the British Society for Surgery of the Hand, discusses how hand care and injury prevention have become increasingly important given the UK’s agei... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >