Find out more about Uttlesford Health Ltd

15:48 21 March 2014

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Anyone wanting to find out more about the move by Uttlesford GPs to form a private company can do so at a meeting next Thursday (March 27).

The West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (WECCG) – the main body Uttlesford Health Ltd is likely to submit bids to in order to win service provider contracts – is inviting members of the public to come along and hear the discussions, including new developments in primary care and proposed modifications to the WECCG’s governance.

The March Board meeting, from 9.30am-12.30pm, will take place in the Boardroom, Building 4, Spencer Close, St Margaret’s Hospital, Epping, CM16 6TN.

Although members of the public are not able to participate in the decision-making process they will have an opportunity to hear the latest news on the vision for health and care in Epping, Harlow and Uttlesford.

Towards the end of each Board meeting there will be an opportunity for people to ask questions.

Chair of the WECCG, Dr Rob Gerlis, said: “In the interests of transparency I want to draw attention to the governance review item on the March Board agenda. For this item Members of the Board will be considering the implications of an important primary care development.

”Local GPs are joining forces to deliver a wider and extended range of services. These are likely to be services that are the responsibility of the CCG to commission. This is in line with what local people have told us they want from the NHS and with emerging national strategy. But it is complex.

“West Essex CCG’s Board members will be discussing how this affects our governance arrangements as we need to ensure that the CCG avoids any potential conflicts of interest, in commissioning services from these new limited companies.

As exclusively revealed by the Reporter, Uttlesford’s GP surgeries are joining forces to form a private company – a move doctors hope will ward off competition for services from brands such as Tesco and Virgin Care.

Health bosses have dismissed the suggestion it is privatisation of the NHS through the back door and insist the limited company – Uttlesford Health Ltd – will be non-profit making.

But fears have been expressed about the impact it could have on the way healthcare is provided.

The change comes in response to the growing trend of private sector companies, such as Virgin Care, ­looking to get in on the provision of ‘enhanced or wider’ frontline NHS services. These are separate to those offered under the core contract GP surgeries have with NHS England.

Dr Alice Hodkinson, a GP at Borough Lane Surgery, is leading the project, which involves all 10 ­surgeries in the area. It was made public at an Uttlesford Residents’ Health Forum meeting last week.

Although patients will not see a difference in the short-term, the move is the first step towards ­bringing certain services, like those offered at Addenbrooke’s or Princess Alexandra hospitals, closer to the community.

Two years ago, Virgin Care agreed a £500million deal to provide ­community health services in two areas of Surrey. It sparked concerns about privatisation of the NHS.

The services included seven Surrey community hospitals, community nursing and dentistry, health visiting and physiotherapy, diabetes treatment and renal care.

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