Ian Austin MP

Labour MP for Dudley North

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Austin raises questions about Dudley's new health contract

MP concerned about new £5.5 billion 15-year contract for local health services.

Dudley North MP Ian Austin is raising concerns about a new £5.5 billion contract to provide health services in Dudley for the next 15 years.

On Friday June 9th - the day after the election – Dudley CCG “in conjunction with Dudley Council” issued a contract for a “Multi-Specialty Community Provider (MCP)” worth between £3.5 and £5.5 billion to provide a range of services including community-based physical health services; some existing out-patient services; primary medical services; urgent care and primary care out of hours services; adult social care services; mental health services; learning Disability Services; end of life care and activities currently carried out by the CCG.

The closing date is July 13th and the new contract will start from April 2018 and run until 2033.

The contract can be seen here.

Austin says a contract of this size and length has never been tried anywhere else in Britain. He says the contract is being advertised abroad and that private sector businesses could bid for all or part of the contract.

He is tabling 60 Parliamentary questions on the new proposal, calling for a meeting with the Secretary of State for Health and planning to send a survey to local residents to find out their views.

Ian Austin said:

“I definitely want to see an NHS which is focused on the patient and which is simple for patients and their families to find their way around. I think the NHS is too fragmented and confusing for patients and their families or carers. Far too often you are told to speak to someone else or to another department or organisation, particularly when it comes to areas like adult social care and the NHS, when patients can't be released from hospital because social care is not available for them.

“But I am concerned that a proposal like this has not been tried anywhere else in Britain and I don’t see why another expensive reorganisation and a 15 year contract are needed to achieve that.

“I'd like to know more about the risks associated with this approach. For example, no other NHS organisation has entered into a 15-year contract when it is impossible to predict what will happen on all sorts of issues such as the impact of new healthcare technologies, new drugs, workforce needs or changes or public spending.

“I also want to know how local people will be involved in the new organisation and what sort of say they will have over healthcare in Dudley over the next 15 years.

“How will staff be affected and will they all be transferred across to the new organisation? Would the organisation that wins the contract be able to sell it on after a few years and what would happen to staff if they did?

“As I understand it, the contract is being advertised abroad and healthcare businesses such as United Health or Virgin Care could bid for it or part of it.

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