Legal case halted

Plans by the Sudbury community health group Watch to legally challenge a consultation over health cuts have been dropped.

The watchdog group launched the action earlier this year after a consultation was started by outsourcing company Serco, a private firm appointed to run the services.

It plans to slash 137 health jobs, including 27 physiotherapists, and reduce the number of days that rehabilitation patients spend in Hazell Court, Acton Lane, before being discharged back to their homes.

Watch chairman Peter Clifford said the group had suspended legal action after talks with Serco and the NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – previously NHS Suffolk.

However, he says the group is reserving the right to reinstate legal action in future.

“We have had two meetings with Serco and the CCG and they have listened to what we have had to say,” he said. “It’s not clear what the outcome of their decision-making will be, but we will have to wait and see what happens.

“But we are reserving the right to reinstate legal action in the future, if we believe the service is not working.”

Mr Clifford said the group understood some staff posts were to be retained.

“Originally, the intention was to have 137 redundancies but we understand that number is to be reduced to 95,” he said.

“Our main concerns remain the quality of services and the fact that services are diminishing. We still have serious doubts about quality of care in particular.”

He said that district and community nurses were facing changes in their work practises which could affect communications.

“They will now receive laptops and download their visits for the day and upload their case notes at the end of the day without having any contact with colleagues,” said Mr Clifford.

“That means they will be working in isolation and they will lose the regular contact of colleagues and that will be a loss.”