The decision to retain the Weston Area Health NHS Trust as the children’s community health services provider for North Somerset, from April 2017 is nothing short of a national scandal.
That’s the view according to the chair of North Somerset Parent Carers (NSPC) who says not only were groups like NSPC not consulted on who should provide this vital service, but the provider now chosen is just not up to the job.
Guy Kingston is now calling on the head of NHS North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group to start the procurement process again but this time undertake a full and proper consultation exercise so that a provider that is fit and proper for the job can be found.
“North Somerset CCG has completely failed in the re procurement of this vital service.
“Many of our children have experienced excessive waits, inadequate provision or an inability to access services at all. That was meant to change as a result of North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group’s re-procurement process but nothing has changed following this announcement.
“Parents were supposed to be consulted. However, the Clinical Commissioning Group doesn’t know who or how many parents it spoke to, or what input it received. The few parents that were asked for their views had those views drowned out by lobbying from the existing provider.
“The purpose of this procurement exercise was to ensure the poor provider got replaced by a better one. There is nothing stopping a good public sector provider ousting a bad public sector provider.
“To award a multi-million pound contract to a provider that is just not up to the job is scandalous, and I’ll happily challenge Dr Mary Backhouse, Chief Clinical Officer for North Somerset on this.
“It also seems a bit ironic that this announcement came out on the same day as the US presidential election results. Considering this decision was taken on 1 November it seems obvious that this announcement was planned on a good day to bury news.
“We have been vociferous in our objections both about the re-procurement process and the prospective provider. We really can’t stress enough how appalling this is. We would urge North Somerset parents to write to their MP.
“We need to let our MPs know that this is unacceptable. Five years is too long to wait for another chance to get the healthcare for our children they need and deserve.”
For further information of North Somerset Parent Carers visit www.nsparentcarers.org.uk.