COMMERCIAL: Sussex Community Trust has been named as the preferred bidder for a community services contract in East Sussex.

High Weald Lewes Havens Clinical Commissioning Group served notice on the contract that was previously provided by East Sussex Healthcare Trust in March last year.

Household patients

The CCG had been concerned about access to services under the previous provider

The CCG had concerns about “the access to and consistency of” the service; the “ad hoc and un-notified” closures of the trust’s minor injury service; and the “inequitable access” it offered to district nurses.

This contract was subsequently put out to tender and an alliance bid, led by Sussex Community Trust as the prime provider, was chosen as the preferred bidder. The value is £13m a year.

Sussex Community Alliance also includes:

  • Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust;
  • Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust;
  • Brighton and Hove Integrated Care Services;
  • Queen Victoria Foundation Trust;
  • Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust; and
  • Age UK.

Sussex Community Trust plans to deliver services through clusters of GP practices supported by district nurses, therapists, mental health and social care practitioners.

It also plans to improve links with voluntary and third sector providers and improve information sharing through IT integration.

Sarah Perry, clinical lead for community services at the CCG, said: “Feedback from local patients and GPs had highlighted some of the difficulties faced by community services and some inconsistences in the way care was provided for local patients across our reach.

“As local commissioners, we are committed to investing in community services and the new contract will mean improvements in clinical outcomes for local people through more integrated services and with more care provided closer to where people live and in their local community.”

Sussex Community Trust chief executive Paula Head said: “We have innovative plans to work in partnership to ensure the very best services are available. Our vision is for people to experience excellent, localised, seamless healthcare and we look forward to working with the CCG to make this a reality for people in the High Weald Lewes Havens area.”

Darren Grayson, chief executive of East Sussex Healthcare Trust, said: “Naturally we are extremely disappointed that our bid to provide community services in the High Weald Lewes and Havens area was unsuccessful…This decision affects a relatively small number of our staff (250 out of over 6,500) but we know that this period of change will be of concern to them so we will work with the new provider to ensure the transfer of services is managed well. I would like to thank all the staff in these services for their input into the bid and for their hard work and dedication during what has been a very unsettling time for them. As well as supporting staff through the changes our priority will be to continue to provide high quality community services to High Weald Lewes and Havens patients until the transfer of services are complete.”