LETTER: Group remains very sceptical

As you correctly asserted in last week’s article, Sudbury Watch! has, for the moment at least, suspended legal action against the Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Groups (successors to NHS Suffolk, the Primary Care Trust which closed at the end of March) over the Serco contract.

We have had two very frank meetings with Serco and their commissioners and some answers and changes have been forthcoming. However, we continue to remain extremely sceptical that contracts given to the private health sector at a vastly reduced cost will not impact severely on the quality of care given to local people, particularly the elderly.

When the removal of the beds from Walnuttree Hospital was announced some years ago and 12 NHS beds in a private home (Hazell Court) were substituted, we were assured that the quality of care and rehabilitation treatment would be “just as good in the future”.

Frankly, we do not believe that to be the case and we have set up an email address - watchsudbury@btinternet.com – to which anyone can send information if they think the treatment that they or their relatives receive from the community teams (at home, in Hazell Court or in clinics) is not up to scratch.

While we know there are a lot of dedicated individuals doing their best to provide these services, we believe that management pressure will mean that they are often undeliverable in a way that puts the patient first.

Experienced physiotherapists for example are now being re-deployed to do more “case management and assessment” and the day to day (and vital) physiotherapy is being left to less well trained and less experienced “generic workers” on a lower pay grade.

While we cannot take up individual cases, any information sent to us will give us a broader picture of what is really going on with our community services in Suffolk. Information received will also be treated in complete confidence.

Peter Clifford

Chairman of Sudbury WATCH

Newton Road

Chilton