Monday, 8 September 2014

Cambridge MP claims NHS best for smooth transition of elderly care

MP Julian Huppert has called again for new combined acute, community and mental health services for the elderly to be run by the NHS rather than a private company.

He is worried that if a private company wins the contract there could be a repeat of the problems that dogged the takeover of Huntingdon’s Hinchingbrooke Hospital which resulted in a two year delay before the handover was complete.

"Realistically, I don't think we can afford to sit around waiting for two years for an integrated care service for our older people,” he said. “There are strong practical reasons why the joint bid made by Cambridge’s Addenbrooke’s Hospital Trust and the Cambridge and Peterborough Foundation Trust should go ahead, including the ease with which the service could be mobilised.

“When Labour put Hinchingbrooke Hospital out to the market and a private sector firm won the contract, it took about two years for the final terms of the contract to be ironed out and for the company to take control. We can’t afford to have this happen to the crucial services we provide for our older people. There must be a smooth transition and we must have the new service working effectively within the agreed timescales. There is too much at stake here.”

Julian spoke out as the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group prepares to announce this month who will run the new joined up services for the over 65s.

“I firmly believe these services should be provided by the NHS and not by a private company,” he said. “I opposed Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Bill because I want to see services improved within the NHS.

“The current division of care is confusing for older people and can lead to care being duplicated or missed out, or communication being broken down. This change should result in a much more cohesive care service and I think the best organisation to run this service is the NHS.”