A social enterprise which provides community services across Cornwall and oversees the county’s 14 community hospitals has said that it will not seek an extension to its current contract, raising questions over the future security of nurse jobs.
Peninsula Community Health, which has been providing community services across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly since 2011, has indicated that it will cease to do so in March 2016.
“Our board has taken the decision that we will not seek a contract extension beyond March 2016”
After that, commissioners have said service provision will be contracted to another organisation or group of organisations – suggesting the likely outcome for staff would be a transfer to a new employer.
However, at this stage, no confirmations have been made about the future security of community nursing posts or terms and conditions.
Steve Jenkin, Peninsula Community Health’s chief executive, has told colleagues that in light of the “challenging financial climate”, the social enterprise’s board has decided not to try and extend its contract.
In an email to staff, Mr Jenkin wrote: “For a number of reasons including the challenging financial climate, our board has taken the decision that we will not seek a contract extension beyond March 2016. Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group has been made aware of our decision.
“We are extremely proud of the achievements of Peninsula Community Health throughout our contract – particularly the high standard of care for our patients and the quality and commitment of you, our staff – all of which was recently confirmed by our Care Quality Commission inspections.
“It is with a heavy heart, therefore, that we have concluded that it is in the best interests of patients and staff in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly if we work with NHS Kernow and other partners during the remainder of our contract term to ensure a smooth transition of services to other providers after March next year.”
“We are now working on plans to make alternative arrangements for the provision of these services from other health care providers”
The £87m-turnover social enterprise was created by NHS staff in 2011 to take over a number of community services from NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Primary Care Trust, as part of the government’s Transforming Community Services programme.
NHS Kernow’s chair Dr Iain Chorlton said: “We are now working on plans to make alternative arrangements for the provision of these services from other health care providers, either singly or in partnership.
“NHS Kernow and Peninsula Community Health are committed to working with its partners to ensure there is a smooth transition of services to the new provider, when selected, and will ensure this process is as seamless as possible for patients and staff,” he added.
Plans to merge Peninsula Community Health and mental health provider Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust were ditched earlier this year, after a study of the proposals for further joint working said a merger would not be feasible on financial grounds.
Information provided to HSJ
2 July 2015