The decision by Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB) to award a contract to run a well-loved and successful GP practice in Chorley, Lancashire, to SSP Health, a large private primary care company, has been met with anger by patients and staff of the surgery, who have accused the ICB of not running a proper public consultation.
The whole process of choosing a new contract holder by Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB for Withnell Health Centre (WHC) was also conducted with virtually zero input from the public despite the ICB’s constitution proudly boasting that it will “put the voices of people and communities at the centre of decision-making and governance.”
The ICB has now apologised to patients and staff at WHC over the lack of information around a procurement process for the surgery contract and acknowledged that “more could have been done” to keep them [the patients and staff] informed about the process. It told the local paper the Lancashire Post:
“Further engagement could have made patients and staff more aware of the procurement process and that it could result in a different organisation taking over the running of the GP practice and due to this we would like to apologise.”
The campaign for the ICB to revisit the procurement process led by local councillors, GPs and local people continues, however.
Full story in The Lowdown, 1 February 2023