Preferred acquirer announced for new management of local NHS community healthcare services

NHS South East Essex (South East Essex Primary Care Trust, i.e. ‘the PCT’) announced today that South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (SEPT) is the preferred acquirer for managing community health care services in south east Essex from April next year.

The Department of Health’s strategy for transforming community services means that all Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) across the country must find new management homes for their community health care services from April 2011.

In July this year, NHS South East Essex invited more than 60 NHS organisations within a 50 miles radius of the centre of south east Essex to submit proposals for the contract to manage the majority of their community health care services.

Four of the organisations who expressed an interest were shortlisted. Two local NHS Foundation Trusts, Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and SEPT, submitted proposals in response to the NHS SEE’s detailed prospectus. These proposals were fully and carefully assessed, using a pre-defined process.

The evaluation criteria included suggestions from NHS South East Essex Community Healthcare staff. After a robust evaluation process, on 29 October 2010, SEPT was approved as the preferred acquirer by NHS SEE Board.

The next stage is a rigorous external approvals and advice process. This is now underway involving the NHS Competition and Co-operation Panel and Monitor (the independent regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts). Subject to the outcome of their findings, a contract will be signed with SEPT in order to transfer services by 31 March 2010.

There will be a smooth transfer process of all staff and services from NHS South East Essex Community Healthcare to SEPT, for the start of the new contract from 1 April 2011. During the transition period, it will be “business as usual” for local services, staff and patients.

Any future changes to services will be subject to full formal public and staff consultation. Andrew Pike, Chief Executive of NHS SEE said: “We are confident that SEPT’s proposal will secure a sustainable future for high quality community health care services for local people. We look forward to working with SEPT during the transition period to ensure a smooth transfer of staff and services from NHS Community Healthcare.”

Dr Patrick Geoghegan OBE, SEPT Chief Executive, said: “SEPT has an established and stable board and executive team with experience of managing a large acquisition and excellent reputation for service delivery and established support services supporting clinical delivery. I’m looking forward to meeting staff to assure them of SEPT’s strong reputation for commitment to staff training and development and approach which puts service users at the centre of all decisions.

Residents should be confident that SEPT has the experience and expertise to continue to deliver the very highest levels of service and to making improvements where necessary in consultation with staff and service users”.

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