Serco report to be looked at by Suffolk health bosses

Have your say

Health bosses will be looking at a report into how community healthcare is being provided in Suffolk at meetings next week.

This follows issues raised by staff and GPs, who now commission healthcare, about how the care is being provided.

While patients are being cared for safely by Suffolk Community Healthcare run by Serco there are areas which need improvement. One of these is staff morale which was described as low prior to the take over from NHS Suffolk.

Some key performance targets are also not being met by the organisation. Among concerns raised were inconsistent approaches to triaging and waiting list management, difficulties with the mobile electronic record keeping, documentation and continuity of care with other agencies specifically the Marie Curie Service, lack of equipment from the community equipment store, recruitment, retention and development of staff.

The report states that a quality review visit found that while some senior staff saw signs of improvement most frontline staff felt they had no understanding of where the organisation was going and what needs to happen or change to get there.

The service was achieving 134 of its performance indicators with 49 still missed, says the report.

Serco, which is now providing a 24/7 referral service and has not made any clinical staff redundantHealth bosses will be looking at a report into how community healthcare is being provided in Suffolk at meetings next week.

, is now undertaking an annual planning exercise with healthcare teams and bench marking its staffing levels with Bromley Healthcare, the employee owned social enterprise, organisation which provides community healthcare in Bromley. Serco is also working with Bromley Healthcare in improving its communications within the organisation.

The West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group will meet on Wednesday at St Edmundsbury Cathedral from 9.15 am. Members will be available to meet the public from 9am.

Members of Suffolk County Council’s health scrutiny committee on Wednesday examined reports on how the service has been performing oand have tasked the organisation to improve staff training and continue to improve services.

Tony Goldson, Chairman of the Health Scrutiny Committee said: “ The Committee wished to understand how well community healthcare services are serving the needs of Suffolk residents. A number of draft recommendations were made to Serco and the commissioners.

“We will be looking to see what has been done to in regards to improvement at our next meeting in April. The Committee will be keen to hear views from people about their experience of this service over the next few months.”

Abi Tierney, Serco Development Director, said: “An NHS review of Suffolk Community Healthcare services concluded that ‘these services are being provided safely’ and there is ‘no evidence that the programme of change being implemented by Serco has resulted in any harm to patients’.

“It is very encouraging that the quality review reached such a clear and unambiguous conclusion. We are deeply committed to the delivery of high-quality patient services that meet the needs of local people so this is very good news. However, we are not complacent and the review also highlights some areas for improvement, including the recruitment and retention of good staff, better communication with GPs and health commissioners and better performance from the community equipment store.

“We are delivering some excellent results and this shows in our Friends and Family Test feedback – 97% of patients and carers surveyed are willing to recommend our services. Average length of stay in our community hospitals reduced by a week in the six months to November 2013. Our care co-ordination centre is open 24 hours a day all year round. This means GPs, hospitals and social services can reach us at any time of day or night when their patients or clients need our help. This was not the case before Serco took over.”