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West Suffolk: Serco’s services are “safe” says clinical commissioning group

PUBLISHED: 11:30 30 January 2014 | UPDATED: 18:22 03 February 2014

Health experts have eased fears over the county’s community health services by insisting they are safe – but say major improvements still need to be made.

A joint report between the West Suffolk and Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) concluded that Serco’s services were “provided safely”.

The review was prompted after concerns were raised by GPs over the quality of service, while Suffolk County Council issued a critical report of Serco earlier this month.

However, members of West Suffolk CCG were generally positive about Serco’s service during the group’s board meeting yesterday.

Chief officer Julian Herbert said: “I’m really pleased that we have confidence that the service is safe, but there are a number of other areas that need to be improved and worked on.”

Dr Anne Nichols, chairman of clinical engagement group, said morale among staff was low and that lots of agency staff were being used, although Serco’s methods for measuring patient feedback were hailed as both a significant improvement on the previous system, and one of the best in the country generally.

The same report found that Serco were failing to meet 49 of 183 key performance indicators, while a separate report said the CCG had raised three contractual issues where Serco was failing to deliver.

However, Mr Herbert said that Serco had been charged with improving the service, and were doing a good job in the circumstances.

He added: “We wanted innovation and change in the system, which they are bringing.”

Dr Rakesh Raja also pointed to Serco’s recently-announced partnership with Bromley Healthcare and its appointment of a new medical director as “changes in Serco that are really positive.”

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