East Lancs patients’ group starts petition after health commissioners put service out to tender

East Lancs patients’ group starts petition after health commissioners put service out to tender

East Lancs patients’ group starts petition after health commissioners put service out to tender

First published in News Blackburn Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Health Reporter

HEALTH commissioners have come under fire after deciding to invite ‘profit-making’ companies to bid for the GP out-of-hours contract in East Lancashire.

The service, which provides overnight and weekend GP care, has been run successfully for 20 years by East Lancashire Medical Services (ELMS), a highly regarded group of local doctors and nurses.

Russ McLean, who runs the Patient Voices Group attached to ELMS, said: “We are really worried that a private company will cut in and put profits before patients. ELMS employs local GPs and staff and it’s a non-profit organisation.

“The commissioners were only celebrating our 20th anniversary with us a few weeks ago and now they’ve decided to put the service out to tender. It needs somebody to stand up to them.”

Mr McLean has set up an e-petition calling for the Government to halt the tender process, which he said could lead to ‘drastically reduced levels of care and the loss of local jobs’. Many out-of-hours services in England are now run by large private healthcare companies, but East Lancashire health chiefs met with strong protests when they opted to put the contract out to tender in 2011. They subsequently reconsidered and extended the ELMS deal, which runs until next year.

East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group, which commissions the service, said it is ‘committed to making sure that patients have effective access to GP appointments when they need urgent care, including when that care is outside of normal surgery hours’.

A spokesman said: “As we commission services on behalf of the public, we have a statutory duty to ensure that we receive value for money.

“To do this we need to benchmark services against similar providers, and this often requires us to tender services. This is both normal and good practice.

“The service specification developed will be rigorous, will reflect the views of patients and will ensure that there is no reduction in the quality of service that patients receive.”

See Mr McLean’s petition at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/63380.

Comments (3)

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6:15pm Tue 22 Apr 14

mavrick says...

It won't be long before there is nothing left to save. I would be surprised if the tender is won by the current holders. stand up now, sign the petition.
It won't be long before there is nothing left to save. I would be surprised if the tender is won by the current holders. stand up now, sign the petition. mavrick
  • Score: 3

8:44pm Tue 22 Apr 14

Pegasus216 says...

The NHS is being privatised, inch by inch, when it's gone it's gone and Lansley will gave done his bit of a strategy started by Blair and finished by...
G
The NHS is being privatised, inch by inch, when it's gone it's gone and Lansley will gave done his bit of a strategy started by Blair and finished by... G Pegasus216
  • Score: 5

4:26pm Wed 23 Apr 14

Pinky&theBrain says...

So run that past me again... our local doctors and nurses work here, and the only way the idiot commissioners ( who I think are local GP's) have of knowing if they're getting value for money is to tender it so they can see how much someone is willing to pay to get their foot in the door? Do they think we're thick? Look in your bank accounts you idiots, if you've not got enough money the contract isn't costing enough , if you've got a lot I'm sure selling it to a private provider will make you a quick quid or two. Who said Cameron was destroying the NHS on his own? Forget Lansley this bunch of Judas's are Cameron's foot soldiers, the NHS is doomed who said putting GPs in charge was a good idea?
So run that past me again... our local doctors and nurses work here, and the only way the idiot commissioners ( who I think are local GP's) have of knowing if they're getting value for money is to tender it so they can see how much someone is willing to pay to get their foot in the door? Do they think we're thick? Look in your bank accounts you idiots, if you've not got enough money the contract isn't costing enough , if you've got a lot I'm sure selling it to a private provider will make you a quick quid or two. Who said Cameron was destroying the NHS on his own? Forget Lansley this bunch of Judas's are Cameron's foot soldiers, the NHS is doomed who said putting GPs in charge was a good idea? Pinky&theBrain
  • Score: 2

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