Health chiefs can’t agree on way for­ward

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Front Page - By ADAM UREN adam.uren@pe­ter­bor­oughto­

A ME­DI­A­TOR may be called in to set­tle a dis­pute be­tween two health bod­ies af­ter a hos­pi­tal chief voiced fears over changes to city care ser­vices.

NHS Peter­bor­ough wants to re­duce the num­ber of pa­tients re­ferred to hos­pi­tals, in­clud­ing those run by Peter­bor­ough and Stam­ford Hos­pi­tals NHS Foun­da­tion Trust (PSHFT), to make £20.2 mil­lion sav­ings this fi­nan­cial year.

The pri­mary care trust (PCT) is look­ing to slash £3.4 mil­lion from its hos­pi­tal con­tracts af­ter it spi­ralled £12.8 mil­lion into the red in the year to March.

But ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween the PCT and PSHFT have stalled and at a meet­ing of the Scru­tiny for Health Com­mis­sion on Mon­day, PSHFT chief ex­ec­u­tive Nik Pat­ten said he wanted an in­de­pen­dent me­di­a­tor called in to solve the dis­pute.

He claimed there were not enough de­tails in NHS Peter­bor­ough’s Turn­around Plan about what im­pact its mas­sive cost-cut­ting would have on city hos­pi­tals.

Mr Pat­ten said: “It’s fair to say that there are some plans from NHS Peter­bor­ough which re­quire a bit more de­tail.

“There are some con­cerns that ac­cept­ing a con­tract with the fig­ures put for­ward could re­sult in added risk to our hos­pi­tals, so we want to move to me­di­a­tion.”

The con­tract in­volves agree­ing on the amount of pa­tients that the hos­pi­tals will treat in a given year – which the PCT pays for.

But Mr Pat­ten fears that the PCT’s re­view of its es­tates could lead to the clo­sure of city care cen­tres and bring ex­tra pa­tients to the hos­pi­tals, which his trust may not be com­pen­sated for if the con­tracted num­ber of pa­tients to be treated is cut.

He said: “We could agree a fixed­value con­tract, but then there may be changes to fa­cil­i­ties such as the Walk-in Cen­tre that af­fects how many pa­tients we treat.

“Un­til these over­all ef­fi­ciency sav­ings are clearer, we are un­able to agree the num­ber of pa­tients that the hos­pi­tal will treat this year.

“Guess­ing and get­ting it wrong could have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the ser­vices we are able to of­fer.”

PSHFT re­ceived £87 mil­lion from NHS Peter­bor­ough for ser­vices it pro­vided in 2009/10. But around £3.5 to £4 mil­lion of that was a re­sult of an over­spend in bud­gets ,and fac­tor­ing in this year’s sav­ings, PSHFT could see its in­come from the PCT re­duced by about £6 mil­lion.

Sarah Shut­tle­wood, PCT di­rec­tor of per­for­mance and con­tracts, said she did not think that it was yet time to call in a me­di­a­tor.

She said: “Talks have not bro­ken down be­tween us but we are not at the point of agree­ment.”

The PCT re­fused to be drawn on the fu­ture of its walk-in cen­tres in Alma Road and Midgate.

Ms Shut­tle­wood added: “We are re­view­ing all of our es­tates across the board.”

fears: Peter­bor­ough and Stam­ford Hos­pi­tals NHS Foun­da­tion Trust chief ex­ec­u­tive Nik Pat­ten.

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