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'Vested interest' trusts may block admissions after community services transfer

By Lilian Anekwe

The shake-up of community health demanded by the Department of Health means patients risk being denied admission to hospital because of secondary care providers' ‘vested interest', LMCs have warned.

PCT and SHA documents reveal some trusts are opting to transfer community services to acute and foundation trusts, after the DH launched the Transforming Community Services programme and ordered PCTs transfer their community services to another provider.

NHS Derby City has already signed off the transfer of £700,000 of services including out of hours community nursing, contraception and sexual health services and chlamydia screening to an autonomous provider organisation, despite PCT minutes stating that there are ‘a number of financial issues relating to the match between direct service costs and historical contract values.'

NHS Buckinghamshire is set to vertically integrate with Buckinghamshire Hospitals Trust, despite Trust documents stating this would ‘risk that a monopoly could develop within the local health economy. Also potential for community services resources to be shifted.'

And NHS Cumbria plans acknowledge that the reorganisation will have ‘significant implications for the workforce.'

Dr Peter Graves, chief executive of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire LMC, where the acute trust is the main bidder for services said: ‘Community services have been run down to the bare minimum over the past three to four years.

‘We're concerned there are going to be conflicts of interest and patients who need to be admitted to hospital being managed in the community because of a vested interest.'

But GPs in Tower Hamlets have scored a victory after their protests led to NHS Tower Hamlets postponing its reorganisation for two years.

Dr Kambiz Boomla, a GP in Tower Hamlets and chair of city and east London LMC said: ‘The options were transfer to Barts and the London NHS trust where they would have been swallowed up.

‘The PCT were thrown into chaos by being told to reorganise. It's really destabilising.'

GPs have warned patients risk being denied admission to hospital because of the 'vested interests' of secondary care providers who have taken over community services GPs have warned patients risk being denied admission to hospital because of the 'vested interests' of secondary care providers who have taken over community services

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