Health chiefs can’t agree on way forward
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.