Weekly updates and essential insight into the NHS in the South West, by Will Hazell

Care UK lead provider for ‘health and wellbeing campus’

Last week Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group announced Care UK as a lead provider to run a new “health and wellbeing campus” in Shepton Mallet.

The company will lead Shepton Mallet Health Partnership – a joint venture with Somerset Partnership Foundation Trust.

Awarding NHS contracts to private companies often generates controversy (just ask Virgin Care when it was bidding to run children’s community services in Bristol), but the announcement doesn’t seem to have provoked any sort of adverse reaction yet.

This is probably due to the fact that Care UK has run the Shepton Mallet NHS Treatment Centre since 2008. Somerset Partnership FT operates the community hospital and minor injuries unit, which is co-located with the treatment centre.

Encouraging the two providers to work more closely together through the contract – which is worth £108m over eight years – seems like a sensible move.

Somerset CCG said the campus could be a platform for integrating primary, secondary and community services, along with “health and wellbeing services that will encourage people to self-care and prevent ill health”.

Shepton Mallet Health Partnership said the campus would feature “enhanced services”, including extended opening hours for the MIU, a base for voluntary and third sector organisations, two “ambulatory care” beds offering services such as blood transfusions, and support to carers.

It all sounds desirable, so let’s hope the partners get on and make a success of delivering it.

Brexit fallout in the South

According to recent analysis by HSJ, the top 10 trusts with the largest proportions of EU staff are mainly concentrated in London.

NHS providers in the South West might not be in the top 10, but like the rest of the country they would fall over if it wasn’t for the dedicated service of staff from Europe.

There have been isolated reports of NHS staff facing racist abuse in the wake of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, and unfortunately the South is not an exception.

Last week at the HSJ Provider Summit, an NHS chief executive from the region spoke about how she had had to apologise to two members of her staff who had been verbally abused by patients or their family members at her hospital.

It’s important that everyone with a connection to the health service – in the South and across the country – contributes to making non-British colleagues feel valued and at home in the NHS.

Deep South

Deep South is HSJ’s email briefing on the NHS in the South West of England.

It takes an in-depth weekly look at a region which is one of the NHS’s most innovative, but also one of its most turbulent. The patch includes the cities of Bristol and Bath, through Wessex and Dorset, and all the way down the peninsular to Lizard Point.

Please get in touch with any suggestions about what you’d like to see covered and any story tips: will.hazell@emap.com