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Transfer of services from NHS to private provider was “unmitigated disaster,” report says

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h3161 (Published 09 June 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h3161
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. 1The BMJ

The botched transfer of specialist dermatology services from a leading NHS hospital to a private company has been described as “an unmitigated disaster” by an independent review.

The investigation found that an “adversarial” relationship developed between local commissioners and providers after NHS Rushcliffe Clinical Commissioning Group decided to transfer services from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust to the private provider Circle Health in 2012.1 The decision was based on an assumption that many staff would also transfer.

The review, commissioned by the clinical commissioning group and led by Chris Clough, former chairman of the National Clinical Advisory Team, said that the handling of the transfer had led to the near collapse of local services because of ongoing problems with staff retention and recruitment.

“Dermatology services in Nottingham are in crisis due to the inability to recruit to substantive posts and the on-going reliance on locum posts at Circle,” it said.

The problems surfaced after the clinical commissioning group awarded a contract to Circle to provide a range of services at the Nottingham Treatment Centre (an independent sector treatment centre), including adults’ and children’s dermatology. Circle’s successful bid was based on an expectation …

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