The Green Party councillors on Sheffield City Council were left ‘bitterly disappointed’ yesterday after the Labour Council Leader’s decision to put Sheffield’s last remaining NHS dementia care service out to tender was upheld.
The Labour Council Leader’s original decision to put services provided by the NHS at Hurlfield View out to tender was ‘called-in’ for scrutiny by the leader of the Greens on the council, Cllr Jillian Creasy. But the Labour dominated scrutiny board upheld the decision at its meeting on Wednesday 25th Feb. This means that the contract to run the service will now go out for bidding to ‘any qualified provider’.
Speaking after the scrutiny meeting, Cllr Creasy stated “I am very disappointed that this decision has been upheld. In my opinion, the council has not fully explored the option of allowing the NHS Health and Social Care Trust to continue running the residential and day care services at Hurlfield. The council hopes to save money by putting it out to tender to a private company, but in the long term they will lose the benefit of working with an NHS partner. We constantly hear about the need for greater integration of health services and supporting people to stay in the community, rather than using hospital beds. A private company will not be as well connected.
“It is also not clear where the savings are going to come from, but often private companies pay their care staff less, leading to low morale and high staff turnover – the last thing that people suffering from dementia and their families need.”
She continued, “I hope the Health and Social Care Trust puts in a bid for the services, and I will continue to voice my opposition to the decision and urge the council to focus on quality of care as well as cost. Ultimately good care saves money if it stops patients getting worse and needing hospital admission. It would seem very ironic if a Labour Council could not reach agreement with an NHS Trust, and calls into question whether they really believe in public services or would prefer to contract everything out to the private sector.
“The Green Party has clearly stated that it is fully committed to protecting our NHS and keeping it in public hands where it can work for the benefit of everyone – not for private companies and their profits. In full support of the NHS Reinstatement Bill, the Green Party would not be putting NHS services out to tender in the manner which this Labour administration has and would put all services currently privatised back into public hands.”
Please see previous press release for info on original decision and Jillian’s ‘calling-in’ of the scrutiny board: http://sheffieldgreenparty.org.uk/2015/02/05/green-councillors-question-decision-to-privatise-dementia-care/