Bad blood between hospital bosses and Kirklees health chiefs has intensified over a huge health deal.
Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust has confirmed it is lodging a complaint after it lost out on a £238m contract.
The long awaited announcement about the Care Closer To Home deal was finally confirmed this morning – more than eight weeks after the decision was made by GPs and two weeks after it was leaked to the media.
The contract secures the future for the not-for-profit firm, formed to provide community care in Kirklees in 2011.But it piles more financial pain on the embattled hospital trust - which runs Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and Calderdale Royal Hospital.
It is thought missing out on the contract means a loss of income of approximately £5m for the hospitals - which are forecast to record a £20m deficit by the end of this year.
Hospital chiefs have now confirmed they are challenging the decision by Greater Huddersfield and North Kirklees clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).
A strongly-worded statement from the trust and its partners, Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust, Forget Me Not Hospice and three GP federations, said: “As a partnership we do not agree with the decision nor the process undertaken by the CCGs in evaluating and making the decision on the contract.
“As such we have informed the CCGs that we intend to lodge a formal complaint with Monitor asking for them to commence an investigation into the CCG’s procurement process and its impact on the outcomes for patients.
“Our overriding reason for doing this is to ensure that patients and their families can be confident in the process and confident that they will receive the very best care as a result.”
Batley and Spen MP, Jo Cox, said she was also worried by the contract decision.
She said: “While I accept the way healthcare is delivered must change, to account for an ageing population and shifting needs, I remain concerned that such a large remit is in the hands of what is essentially one private provider.”
The scope of the Care Closer To Home contract include community matrons, district nurses and a range of therapy and rehabilitation services.
Staff currently working for other providers, such as HRI, could be transferred to Locala.
It is unclear if the re-structure will mean any job losses or job gains.
The new dispute comes just a week after the Examiner revealed the trust had failed to agree terms of payment with Greater Huddersfield CCG for its main clinical contract for 2015/16 – sparking an independent arbitration process.
The trust previously had a £123m fixed price deal but CCG chiefs felt they did not get value for money last year – claiming they experienced a £3.8m “under-trade” in 2014/15.
NHS North Kirklees and NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) said the decision was the first step towards delivering their vision of integrated, community-based services across Kirklees with an emphasis on care being closer to people’s homes or within their homes.
It is hoped the enhanced services will keep more people out of hospital and reduce the demand on A&E, allowing the restructure of Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and Calderdale Royal Hospital.
Dr Steve Ollerton, Chair of Greater Huddersfield CCG and a Skelmanthorpe GP, said: “A single lead provider for community services will ensure that care across Kirklees is more joined up than it has ever been, and help us to focus on improving the patient experience.”
If the challenge fails, Locala Community Partnerships will take over responsibility for services from October 2015, with a phased implementation plan that will be delivered throughout the first year.
Robert Flack, Chief Executive, Locala Community Partnerships, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be the chosen lead provider for this work.
“Colleagues have been crafting and shaping our new model of care for months and are eager to put it into action.”
In April the Examiner revealed Mr Flack had been awarded a 27% pay rise in 2013/14 taking his salary to £121,000 while nurses only received a few percent and had their £40 annual bonuses scrapped.