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NHSE director slams local authorities for ‘relentless retendering’ of health services

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  • NHS England lead hits out at “relentless retendering” of health services by local authorities
  • Claire Murdoch says issue can be “corrosive” to staff and quality
  • Public health services remain under local authority control after government decision in June

NHS England’s national director for mental health has reignited the debate over local government’s stewardship of public health services by claiming “relentless retendering” is damaging integration, quality and staff morale.

The comment by Claire Murdoch came shortly after an acute trust failed in its legal challenge to prevent a council moving sexual health services from the NHS to a charity provider.

Writing on the social networking website Twitter, Ms Murdoch said: “The relentless retendering of vital health services by LAs [local authorities] can be corrosive to integration, staff morale and quality. Eg Addiction, Sexual Health, 0-19s, HVs [health visiting], school nursing. It commodities (sic) care.”

She later retweeted a post by Teeside Hospice chief executive David Smith, which said: “Repeated, unnecessary and badly managed procurements were one of the reasons I left mental health. It’s destroying the sector, pitching providers against each other, driving down quality to lowest possible standard. Only positive is job creation for procurement people/consultants.”

Ms Murdoch has not responded to HSJ’s requests to expand on her views.

She made the comment in the wake of the Technology and Construction Court’s decision to allow Cornwall Council to award a sexual health services contract – held by Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust for the past six years – to sexual health charity Brook.

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Source: HSJ


Date: 16 August 2019