Serco has been selected as the preferred bidder to provide a range of community health services to 600,000 patients in Suffolk.
Services are currently provided by Suffolk Community Healthcare (SCH), part of NHS Suffolk, and will transfer by the autumn.
The change is in line with the national Transforming Community Services guidance from the Department of Health which stipulates that all primary care trusts, like NHS Suffolk, will no longer directly provide community services and will instead commission these services.
Serco will work with SCH’s staff to develop the current range of adult community services, specialist children’s services and community hospitals across Suffolk, with the exception of the Waveney area. Serco has developed a unique model of delivery for Suffolk addressing local health and geographical needs which will simplify services to improve accessibility and address the rural needs of Suffolk patients. Serco will act as a prime contractor for this opportunity and will deliver services in partnership with South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (SEPT), Marie Curie Cancer Care, Bedford Community Dental Services (CIC) and University Hospital Birmingham.
Dr Paul Watson, chief executive of NHS Suffolk, said: “We have been determined to find the very best organisation to manage these community services in the future; to provide benefit and opportunity to our patients and staff. Serco has been carefully selected and has provided us with a detailed proposal, giving rigorous evidence of its experience as a service provider and its vision and innovative plans for further improving our community services.
“We are confident it will ensure that our patients continue to receive well-managed, effective services, with a constant focus on improving quality, and delivering value for money for the taxpayer.
“Over the coming months, we will work closely with SCH, partners from across primary care and Serco to ensure a smooth and successful transition of both staff and services.
“It is important to stress that services will still be a part of the NHS contract."
Dawn Godbold, chief operating officer at SCH, said: “We are pleased to have reached the final stage of this process and look forward to joining Serco and continuing to deliver NHS services to our patients.
“All of the staff work tremendously hard and I would like to thank all of them for continuing to act professionally throughout this process. I am confident that they will continue to provide an excellent service.”
Dr Paul Bethell, a GP with the Lattice Barn Surgery, who was one of the GPs involved in the selection process, said: “Over the coming years, primary care colleagues from across Suffolk will be working closely with Serco, NHS Suffolk and our acute hospital trusts so that we can make sure patients receive truly integrated, joined up services. It’s our duty as the NHS to provide patients with the care, treatment and support they need, both when and where they need it, and that will continue to be our focus throughout the life of this contract. I have confidence in this outcome.”
Paul Forden, managing director, acute & community services for Serco said: “We believe that we have created an exciting and visionary delivery model for Suffolk Community Health by ensuring that the patient is at the heart of the service and empowering clinicians to spend more time caring. Our integrated model of care is possible by bringing together the best of the NHS, voluntary and private sector. Key to delivering our integrated model of care is ensuring the patient is at the heart of services. We believe that our partnership approach brings the vision, expertise and capacity to make Community Health in Suffolk a truly exemplary service.”
Dr Patrick Geoghegan, Chief Executive of SEPT said: “We are delighted to have reached this stage in the process and are looking forward to working in partnership to ensure local patients receive top quality community services”.