NHS Bristol’s decision to re-tender the city’s mental health service comes at a bad time for current provider Avon and Wiltshire Partnership Trust.
According to NHS South of England’s January board papers, the trust’s foundation application is still on hold following two critical reports into homicides committed by its patients.
It is not surprising then that Avon and Wiltshire’s board recently rejected a request from a group of clinicians seeking to set up a social enterprise to deliver services in Bristol under the government’s right to provide scheme. Among the reasons for its decision, the board noted the creation of a social enterprise could have a “destabilising effect” on the trust’s foundation application.
Of course, organisational change is always disruptive, but the biggest “destabilising effect” would arise from creating a competitor for the said NHS Bristol contract. No one can accuse the board of behaving like festively enthusiastic turkeys.
Elsewhere in the South West, foundation trust applications are progressing mostly as planned. However, data problems from implementing the Cerner Millennium patient record and administration system have delayed Royal United Hospital Bath’s submission to the Department of Health while Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust also slipped by a month.
Plymouth Hospitals Trust has until September to submit its application to the DH, but has still not appointed a permanent chief executive after Paul Roberts stood down in July. Trust chair Commodore Steven Jermy also left at the end of January to focus on his day job as a “military strategist”. The vagaries of war, it seems, must be easier to navigate than the NHS.