Skip to main content

Armed Forces: Health Services

Volume 474: debated on Thursday 24 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the competence of non-registered/qualified health care assistants operating the triage system for the telephone assessment service in British Forces Germany. (201362)

The primary and community care contract has been commercially let using standard MOD terms and conditions of contract which has clear performance requirements, including the professional standard required of their staff. Previously, out-of-hours services involved 24-hour manning of British Forces Germany (BFG) medical centres. With the introduction of the new contract a telephone advisory service (TAS) triage system for out-of-hours is being operated by qualified nurses, whilst health care assistants provide support. The system was assessed and found successful for over a year in two pilot sites in Germany before its successful introduction on 1 April 2008.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effect on the retention of staff of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) of the change of terms and conditions in his Department's contract with Guys' and St. Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust and SSAFA for health care staff in British Forces Germany. (201364)

The primary and community care contract has been commercially let using standard MOD terms and conditions of contract, which were accepted by the SSAFA/GSTT partnership. The contractor has responsibility to manage their own staff retention in order to meet the requirement of the contract. However, evaluation of the contract tender considered the fact SSAFA have provided similar services on a commercial basis to MOD over several years and have been able to offer employment terms and conditions that have ensured a good track record of recruitment and retention. Since contract signature in December 2007, both British Forces Germany Health Services and the contractor have engaged in a comprehensive communication strategy with all staff, to ensure what has been a successful transition to the new contract.