COMMERCIAL: A primary care trust is refusing to fund placements at a privately run facility for patients with learning disabilities because of its proximity to the site of a scandal-hit NHS hospital, it has been claimed.

St Piran’s Healthcare has referred NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly to the Cooperation and Competition Panel over its policy of not commissioning placements at the provider’s Kryllas Manor hospital in Falmouth. The company claims this is discriminatory and restricts patient choice.

In a submission to the panel, St Piran’s claims this is due to “concern on the part of the PCT relating to the location of the Kryllas Manor facility, in particular the proximity to the former site of the Budock Hospital”.

Budock Hospital was run by Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust. A 2006 investigation by former regulators the Healthcare Commission and Commission for Social Care Inspection found patients were hit, pushed and dragged by staff who relied excessively on medication to deal with disruptive behaviour.

Sources locally suggest that although there was concern Kryllas Manor could employ former Budock staff, the PCT’s priority was to move away from using inpatient facilities for patients with learning disabilities.

Kryllas Manor is the only facility run by St Piran’s, which was incorporated in 2007, the year Budock was closed.

St Piran’s also claims the PCT has an “unsatisfactory” relationship with “certain personnel” at St Kryllas and a policy of not commissioning placements in facilities without a track record of inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

HSJ understands some clinicians are keen to place people at the site so they can be closer to family. However, in the wake of the scandals at Budock and more recently Winterbourne View hospital, run by Castlebeck, commissioners are seeking a high standard of assurance.

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly chief executive Steve Moore said the PCT intended to “rigorously defend its position”.

“We fund individual packages of care and placements based on the referring clinician’s recommendations and can only fund placements with providers that have the necessary authorisations in place,” he said.

“We have always fully accepted that the privately run Kryllas Manor, while based in Budock, is in no way associated with the former NHS Budock Hospital.”