NHS England confirms probe into Locala's new mum services

Claims that core nursing duties being neglected in favour of private chargeable services

Locala Community Partnerships

NHS England has confirmed it is probing claims that not-for-profit community health firm Locala was “cooking the books” in terms of its nursing performance.

Accusations that the Kirklees-based organisation was neglecting its NHS commitments in favour of promoting its chargeable services have been made in an anonymous letter, sent to both the Examiner and NHS England.

Health organisations can receive bonus payments from the NHS for meeting certain targets.

Copies of emails from management to nursing staff indicate nurses have been asked to work extra hours at short notice to meet the targets.

The letter says the emails show how Locala “cooks the books” for its submissions to NHS England and also claims health visitors were being “bullied” into promoting Locala’s private services, such as the enhanced weaning classes that have recently launched at Huddersfield Mothercare.

As reported Locala offers new mums training with breast feeding for £6 a session.

Baby massage classes are £30 for five sessions.

Locala, based at Beckside Court in Batley, receives money from NHS England for its work with new mums but is also allowed to develop extra chargeable services under the terms of its NHS contract.

But a whistleblower has claimed the new mums services should be part of the core NHS service.

They said Locala was selling bits of the Healthy Child Programme to families who need additional support.

“These families are already disadvantaged and it is wrong to ask them to pay when NHS England have invested in Locala to deliver this care,” said the source.

A spokesman for NHS England said: “We are aware that a number of allegations have been made with regard to Locala and we are working with them to establish the facts and resolve any issues.”

A Locala spokeswoman said: “We are fully aware of this anonymous letter and we are providing the assurances NHS England has asked for in relation to services provided by Locala Community Partnerships.”

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