Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 17°C

min temp: 12°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Suffolk: Serco defends fresh criticism of delays over equipment provision for vulnerable patients

20:05 10 July 2014

Concerns were raised in January about the performance of the Community Equipment Service (CES), part of Serco-run Suffolk Community Healthcare.

Concerns were raised in January about the performance of the Community Equipment Service (CES), part of Serco-run Suffolk Community Healthcare.

Bosses at the private firm providing community healthcare in Suffolk have defended themselves following concerns over equipment provision.

Jane Basham, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for South Suffolk, criticised the Serco-run Suffolk Community Healthcare after patients spoke of equipment delays.

Ms Basham heard how one elderly woman was told she would have to wait three weeks for a walking aid, while she also heard of delays for equipment for paediatric services as they were no longer stored in Suffolk.

It comes after concerns were raised in January about the performance of the Community Equipment Service (CES), part of Serco-run Suffolk Community Healthcare.

In October 2012, Serco took on the role of providing community health services to 600,000 patients in Suffolk.

The CES is an integrated service providing equipment for people with health and social care needs.

However, delays of up to five months in providing equipment, such as specialist beds, slings and hoists, and poor communication were among the concerns raised at a Suffolk health scrutiny committee meeting.

Ms Basham said: “We celebrated the creation of the NHS by Nye Bevan on July 5 1948 by having street stalls in Hadleigh and Sudbury where people queued up to sign our NHS birthday card.

“I am aware that there have been ongoing problems with the SERCO Community Health Care contract (and) was deeply concerned to hear from one woman whose elderly friend, really struggling with diminishing mobility. was told she would have to wait three weeks for a walking aid. Her friend, who had the means to do so, sorted one out for her.

“Another person told me that equipment for paediatric services was now stored many miles away – leading to delays and additional transport costs – when previously they were stored locally.

“It appals me that NHS services in Suffolk are being run down and sold off bit by bit with no consideration of the consequences for patients, their carers and relatives or the staff who work in it. Health care needs to be a public service, free at the point of delivery regardless of someone’s ability to pay.

“So much money is being wasted on commissioning and monitoring these types of contracts – money that would be better spent on people who need treatment. I have written to the chair of the West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group about these issues and wait to hear.”

But Dr Abigail Tierney, chief executive of Suffolk Community Healthcare, said: “We are sorry if any of our patients have experienced difficulties with the community equipment service, which is much improved and making good progress with the action plan that has been agreed with the CCG.

“Recently, when the Ipswich store became too crowded we had to move some equipment elsewhere. This was highly specialised equipment that is rarely requested, such as standers that enable disabled children to stand up for therapy sessions. We continue to transport equipment at least twice a week to and from Ipswich as part of the existing service, at no additional cost.

“We have already contacted Ms Basham about the individual case that she has raised.”

A spokesman for the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, joint commissioners of Serco/Suffolk Community Healthcare, said: “Both CCGs actively monitor the performance of community health services in Suffolk to ensure good quality, safe services.

“This monitoring has previously highlighted that the community equipment service needs to perform better. Serco has acknowledged this need for improvement and the CCGs have actively supported Serco’s efforts to make the changes needed.

“Serco has already delivered improvements and has produced a Remedial Action Plan which aims to fully deliver the required performance improvements by the end of July.

“A recently published Quality Review, which included concerns over the community equipment service, also concluded that community equipment services in Suffolk are being provided safely.”

2 comments

  • Just how long ago was it that Cameron stood at the Dispatch Box in The House of Commons and said "The NHS is safe in our hands" ?, what he really meant was in the hands of the wealthy tory shareholders !

    Report this comment

    freedomf

    Friday, July 11, 2014

  • One day we'll all suddenly realise that the NHS as we used to know it is gone, and we'll say to ourselves: "How did this happen?" Everyone who voted for this verminous coalition government has blood on their hands. And Tory-supporting rags like the EADT are equally complicit in helping to promote their free-market neoliberal agenda. I hope you all take comfort in your private health insurance.

    Report this comment

    Origami Penguin

    Thursday, July 10, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Controversial Labour peer Baroness Chakrabarti has angered Essex politicians after she declared “Don’t lock me in a room with Essex man” at the Labour Party conference.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry speaks during the second day of the Labour Party conference in Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday September 26, 2016. See PA story LABOUR Main. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

One of the region’s top farming representatives has warned that the British food and farming sector must remain productive and competitive as Labour announced it was looking to shake up current subsidy rules post-Brexit.

Photo by Angela Sharpe of Ellough Park Raceway

The man, in his early 60s, had been celebrating his brother’s birthday and was karting at the circuit, near Beccles, when he was reportedly involved in a collision with another go-kart.

Landlord of the Eels Foot Inn, Julian Wallace,  had to issue paper invoices to bill patrons after his phone lines went down last week

The Eels Foot Inn in Eastbridge has been forced to use paper invoices to bill their patrons after its phone lines and broadband went down for a week.

Corrie McKeague

Police are concerned for the welfare of a 23-year-old man from Bury St Edmunds who has been missing since Saturday morning.

Philip Morant School

From now on students will choose their own homework at a school in Colchester.

The Essex and Herts Air Ambulance

A man has been taken to hospital in a serious condition following a motorcycle crash in Blythburgh this morning.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24