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Making care better with you

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Local Healthwatch want answers from health commissioners


older manToday we wrote to our local health commissioner, to ask some important questions about the recent collapse of the older people's services contract.

We want to know why the contract was withdrawn, who was involved in this decision and what happens next. We are also calling for a formal public enquiry, led by an independent Chair. Our letter is supported by Healthwatch Peterborough, and the other two affected Healthwatch.

Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) appointed UnitingCare as the “Lead Provider” of Older People's Health and Adult Community Services last year, after a lengthy procurement process.

The aim of this contract was to make care more joined up for older people and adults who receive community health care. UnitingCare Partnership are made up of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH). 

Our Chair Val Moore said:

"We were surprised by the announcement last week but pleased that the CCG has spent time re-assuring local people that this will not affect the care they are currently receiving."

"However, the high cost of procurement set against the eight-month term that the contract completed represents a very poor return on investment.”

“As the contract was awarded to a NHS partnership, the public will want to be satisfied that risks were appropriately shared and an alternative solution could not be met before the decision to withdraw the contract was made."

"Local Healthwatch are enthusiastic for better integration of health and care services and the potential for efficiencies in delivery. We hear many stories about the difficulties people experience when needing to move from one part of the system to another."

How this affects local people.

The idea of the Older People’s contract was to make care work better for local people. The arrangements to provide these services is complex, with different organisations providing different parts of people’s care. UnitingCare’s job was to make them more joined up.

The contract included:

  • Urgent care for people aged over 65, including in-patients as well as A&E services.
  • Mental Health Services for people aged over 65.
  • Community health services for adults, e.g. district nursing, rehabilitation, speech and language therapy, care for patients with complex wounds, support for people with respiratory disease or diabetes.
  • Other health services which support the care of people aged over 65.

The contract did not include social care, which is planned and paid for by Cambridgeshire County Council.

All care staff working for UnitingCare are employed by CPFT or CUH and will continue to work as normal. 

The CCG have said “We do not want people to be worried about their care". You can contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) if you have any further questions.  The number to call is a Freephone telephone number 0800 376 0775.


Joint Healthwatch letter to Cambridgeshire & Peterborough CCG