Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 11°C


Suffolk: Serco defends fresh criticism of delays over equipment provision for vulnerable patients

20:05 10 July 2014

Concerns were raised in January about the performance of the Community Equipment Service (CES), part of Serco-run Suffolk Community Healthcare.

Concerns were raised in January about the performance of the Community Equipment Service (CES), part of Serco-run Suffolk Community Healthcare.

Bosses at the private firm providing community healthcare in Suffolk have defended themselves following concerns over equipment provision.


Jane Basham, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for South Suffolk, criticised the Serco-run Suffolk Community Healthcare after patients spoke of equipment delays.

Ms Basham heard how one elderly woman was told she would have to wait three weeks for a walking aid, while she also heard of delays for equipment for paediatric services as they were no longer stored in Suffolk.

It comes after concerns were raised in January about the performance of the Community Equipment Service (CES), part of Serco-run Suffolk Community Healthcare.

In October 2012, Serco took on the role of providing community health services to 600,000 patients in Suffolk.

The CES is an integrated service providing equipment for people with health and social care needs.

However, delays of up to five months in providing equipment, such as specialist beds, slings and hoists, and poor communication were among the concerns raised at a Suffolk health scrutiny committee meeting.

Ms Basham said: “We celebrated the creation of the NHS by Nye Bevan on July 5 1948 by having street stalls in Hadleigh and Sudbury where people queued up to sign our NHS birthday card.

“I am aware that there have been ongoing problems with the SERCO Community Health Care contract (and) was deeply concerned to hear from one woman whose elderly friend, really struggling with diminishing mobility. was told she would have to wait three weeks for a walking aid. Her friend, who had the means to do so, sorted one out for her.

“Another person told me that equipment for paediatric services was now stored many miles away – leading to delays and additional transport costs – when previously they were stored locally.

“It appals me that NHS services in Suffolk are being run down and sold off bit by bit with no consideration of the consequences for patients, their carers and relatives or the staff who work in it. Health care needs to be a public service, free at the point of delivery regardless of someone’s ability to pay.

“So much money is being wasted on commissioning and monitoring these types of contracts – money that would be better spent on people who need treatment. I have written to the chair of the West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group about these issues and wait to hear.”

But Dr Abigail Tierney, chief executive of Suffolk Community Healthcare, said: “We are sorry if any of our patients have experienced difficulties with the community equipment service, which is much improved and making good progress with the action plan that has been agreed with the CCG.

“Recently, when the Ipswich store became too crowded we had to move some equipment elsewhere. This was highly specialised equipment that is rarely requested, such as standers that enable disabled children to stand up for therapy sessions. We continue to transport equipment at least twice a week to and from Ipswich as part of the existing service, at no additional cost.

“We have already contacted Ms Basham about the individual case that she has raised.”

A spokesman for the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, joint commissioners of Serco/Suffolk Community Healthcare, said: “Both CCGs actively monitor the performance of community health services in Suffolk to ensure good quality, safe services.

“This monitoring has previously highlighted that the community equipment service needs to perform better. Serco has acknowledged this need for improvement and the CCGs have actively supported Serco’s efforts to make the changes needed.

“Serco has already delivered improvements and has produced a Remedial Action Plan which aims to fully deliver the required performance improvements by the end of July.

“A recently published Quality Review, which included concerns over the community equipment service, also concluded that community equipment services in Suffolk are being provided safely.”



  • Just how long ago was it that Cameron stood at the Dispatch Box in The House of Commons and said "The NHS is safe in our hands" ?, what he really meant was in the hands of the wealthy tory shareholders !

    Report this comment


    Friday, July 11, 2014

  • One day we'll all suddenly realise that the NHS as we used to know it is gone, and we'll say to ourselves: "How did this happen?" Everyone who voted for this verminous coalition government has blood on their hands. And Tory-supporting rags like the EADT are equally complicit in helping to promote their free-market neoliberal agenda. I hope you all take comfort in your private health insurance.

    Report this comment

    Origami Penguin

    Thursday, July 10, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Police closed Felixstowe Road, Ipswich.

A man has been taken to hospital after the motorcycle he was riding collided with a van.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service called to Foxhall Road, Ipswich.

Firefighters were called to help a young child who got their head trapped between two bollards.

The accident has closed the road

A lorry driver became trapped in his vehicle after it overturned on the A1071 at Hintlesham this afternoon.

Andrew Shemming, daughter Annabelle and their dog Puzzle

She’s called Puzzle, and it is hoped the lovable Labrador will live up to her name by solving some Suffolk mysteries.

Martlesham police investigation centre

Four men arrested following the armed robbery of a Felixstowe bookmaker’s shop will not be prosecuted, police have said.

A familiar sight this year. Roadworks at the junction of Handford Road and Portman Road in Ipswich.

Temporary traffic lights were back at the junction of Portman Road and Handford Road again today . . . for the 17th time since November last year.

Police cordon off Rose Lane after the incident

A man and a woman are due to appear in court after being accused of grievous bodily harm on a young man in Ipswich town centre.

All services through Colchester are affected

All train services travelling through Colchester are facing severe disruption after the fire alarm was activated in a signal box.

Carolyn winning the Suffolk New College make-up competition in 2002.

From Hadleigh to Hollywood, Carolyn Roper has brushed shoulders with acclaimed actors, sporting legends and pop superstars.

Ipswich Hospital on Heath Road, Ipswich.

Ipswich’s hospital had its busy day of the year yesterday for admissions.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Suffolk's trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the Ipswich Star e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24