The owner of a new eating disorder clinic in Rougham has said he does not ‘have the luxury of being able to wait’ until 2019 to secure a contract with NHS England.
Consultant clinical psychologist Chris McKenna has urged NHS England to reconsider giving the £2.5 million clinic a chance to become an approved supplier of beds, after it said it would be unable to do so until next year.
“There are just not enough inpatient beds nationally to respond in a timely and safe manner to the needs of this highly vulnerable patient group, a group that often find themselves sitting for weeks on general medical wards waiting to be found a bed in a service like ours,” said Chris.
Along with his wife Jackie, Chris set up the 12-bed clinic, which is mostly self-funded, following their daughter, Claire’s, battle with anorexia. It officially opened last week.
“We need to and want to work with NHS England, this is the least we can do for patients waiting all over the country for good quality more local specialist service provision – but time is not necessarily on our side,” he said.
A spokesman for NHS England said: “NHS England follows procurement law in the commissioning of specialised services, including inpatient beds for adults and children with eating disorders. During that process, any licensed provider is able to put in a bid to provide those services, as long as they meet the national service standards. Bids are scored on a range of criteria, including local access.
“We have recently undertaken a review of children and young people’s mental health inpatient requirements across the country and will be undertaking a new procurement exercise to ensure we have the right type of beds in the right parts of the region.
“We are just starting a similar national review of adult services. The Chimneys Healthcare Partnership would be eligible to express an interest through the procurement exercise for those services.
“However, as the review gets under way, we will be looking to see if additional capacity for adult eating disorder beds in the region is required sooner. In that circumstance a full procurement exercise would be undertaken which would be a competitive process that The Chimneys could take part in if it meets the national standards. We are in touch with The Chimneys and will let them know if this becomes an option.”