More questions than answers, according to MPs

Dr Katie Armstrong, part of the new Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group ENGSUS00120130114094035
Dr Katie Armstrong, part of the new Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group ENGSUS00120130114094035

QUESTIONS need to be answered – that is the view of our MPs and political candidates on the decision to award BUPA CSH Ltd with a huge musculoskeletal services contract.

Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, and Sir Peter Bottomley, MP for Worthing West, have issued a joint letter to Dr Katie Armstrong, outlining their concerns.

W51833H12 Tim Loughton is seeking answers from West Coast Clinical Commissioning Group, following its decision to award a major musculoskeletal services contract to BUPA

W51833H12 Tim Loughton is seeking answers from West Coast Clinical Commissioning Group, following its decision to award a major musculoskeletal services contract to BUPA

Speaking to the Herald & Gazette yesterday, Mr Loughton said: “There are a lot of questions to be answered. We have asked for a proper investigation as to whether it is in the best interests of local patients. There needs to be a strong case for why this service is going to be better overall. If clinicians are concerned then I am concerned.”

He added that he did not believe a ‘proper’ impact assessment had been done.

Mr Loughton was due to meet with GPs yesterday, after the Herald & Gazette went to press. He has also arranged meetings with the CCG and hospital trust for next week.

Tim Macpherson, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for East Worthing and Shoreham, called the situation ‘alarming’.

Mr Macpherson said: “I think it is about time that Ms Armstrong came clean about why, when perfectly good orthopaedic services are available in our two local hospitals, did she feel it was necessary to give the contract to an outside body.”

Former GP and current county councillor Dr James Walsh claimed the decision to award the contract to BUPA was ‘privatisation by stealth’.

Dr Walsh said: “My understanding is it will bleed some £30 million away from Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and put severe pressure on maintaining existing orthopaedic and trauma services.

“Therefore, it could lead to cuts in those services.”