STRUCTURE: Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group have been called before a local authority scrutiny committee to respond to concerns about the £235m contract it awarded to a private provider joint venture.

The recently awarded the prime provider MSK contract to a joint venture between private provider Bupa and CSH Surrey.

Representatives from the CCG were due to appear before councillors on West Sussex County Council’s health and adult social care select committee this week.

The committee’s councillors are likely to see “assurances” the contracting decision would not destabilise the local health economy by impacting on the trauma services at Western Sussex Hospitals Foundation Trust.

While the committee has the power to refer the contract to the secretary of state, a report by council officers said the authority was “not likely to be in a position to make a referral” at this week’s meeting.

The committee can only refer the proposal to the secretary of state once it is assured that the CCG has tried to reach an agreement with local health providers.

Western Sussex, which also bid for the work, said they were “disappointed” to have missed out on the contract.

While trauma services are not included in the MSK contract, the tariff for trauma work pays less than elective work.

A report from the committee said it had been assured in June that a “consistent service would be available to all patients across the county, that key NHS organisations were working together to ensure health and social care system sustainability and that there would be no negative impact on local trauma services”.

“However, concerns have been raised following Coastal West Sussex CCG’s decision to award the contract for MSK services to a different provider.”

David Whitehead, clinical director for Coastal West Sussex CCG, said: “Our current MSK service offers patients high quality care and good outcomes, but patients do sometimes experience confusion and frustration, under the current system.”

He added: “We are concerned about the worries expressed by the community and are working hard to assure our communities that the CCG values the MSK services delivered by all of its current providers and is working with the preferred prime provider to ensure this new contract offers the best services for its patients and maintains the stability of our NHS partners.”