Children's Services Could Be Privitised
8 October 2014, 16:13 | Updated: 8 October 2014, 16:15
The 23 services currently run by NHS Kernow could be run by private companies, if they're successful in getting the contracts.
NHS Kernow, Cornwall Council, NHS England and the Council of the Isles of Scilly have decided to put the 23 services into a procurement process.
The services include school nursing; speech and language therapy, Health Visiting, Family Nursing and child and adolescent specialist mental health services.
This is the third stage of a consultation process where people who use the services and those that work for them, the chance to have their say about what they want from them.
Sue Smith, NHS Kernow's Programme Director for Delivery, said: "This decision will ensure we have a robust service in place for 1 April, 2016, that allows children, young people and their families to access services that improve children and young people's health and wellbeing.
"It is our vision to improve people's experience of care and support and reduce the cost of care. This procurement will ensure we achieve this."
West Cornwall MP Andrew George has expressed his concern for the privatisation of NHS services in the past.
When asked about children's services being put out to tender, he said "When you give core NHS services to companies which may put profit before patient care you usually get a worsening of service, a system which puts 'working to contract' above doing what's necessary for the patient and a fragmented service where patients fall between the cracks.
"I support NHS Kernow and respect their values. But they're being forced to put key services like this out to tender or risk facing the challenge being deemed "anti-competitive."
The new contracts must be in place by the 1st April 2016, and are estimated to be worth a total of £22 million per year.