(2) what consultation is being conducted by each primary care trust in Lancashire on proposals to transfer clinical work from NHS hospitals to the private sector;
(3) when she expects the contract between the NHS and Netcare for the provision of clinical services in Lancashire to be signed;
(4) what assessment she has made of the potential effect on Queen’s Park hospital, Blackburn, of the proposed transfer of services to Netcare.
Extensive discussions about the clinical assessment, treatment and support (CATS) model within the health economy were conducted at the time the 2005 strategic delivery framework was produced. The engagement and development of the Cumbria and Lancashire CATS scheme has been carried out by a team from the Commercial Directorate of the Department in collaboration with representatives of the strategic health authority (SHA) and primary care trusts (PCTs) in Cumbria and Lancashire, and with the active support and involvement of what is now the North West SHA. Local healthcare professionals and clinicians were involved in the evaluation of the bids received.
In addition, the PCTs in Cumbria and Lancashire have decided, after discussion with the joint overview and scrutiny committees, to conduct a formal consultation exercise about CATS, which commenced on 15 January 2007. Hon. Members will be able to contribute to this consultation.
This will be supplemented by wider engagement with the public, patient representatives and local clinicians through meetings, which will help inform the local implementation of the CATS scheme, to be held by both the Department’s project team and PCTs in the areas covered by the CATS scheme. This ongoing process of consultation and engagement is designed to ensure that all members of the health economy, including patients, primary care trusts, acute trusts (and staff groups within those organisations) have the chance to understand and comment on the solution that is developed.
Upon completion of negotiations with the preferred provider, a contract is anticipated to be awarded for the Cumbria and Lancashire CATS scheme in late spring 2007.
As regards Blackburn, a site has been identified further to discussions with the East Lancashire PCT which does not involve the use of the Queens Park hospital site. The PCT and SHA will be working together to manage the impact of the introduction of CATS, not just in Blackburn, but across the whole of Cumbria and Lancashire.