Future of Braintree Hospital ‘never in doubt’

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Health Commissioners announce new provider at community hospital.

Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (MECCG) announced today (10 March 2014) that the contract for running services at Braintree Community Hospital will transfer to Mid Essex Hospital Trust (MEHT) from current providers, Serco.

This is a locally negotiated solution, following Serco’s request to leave the contract before its end date of March 2015, and will deliver the CCG’s promise of business as usualat the popular local hospital. MEHT will assume responsibility for maintaining the range of services currently provided for the duration of the existing contract

Bryan Spencer, Clinical vice Chair of MECCG says “The CCG and its partners, MEHT and Serco, have been working hard to get this right for the people of Braintree and the surrounding area. Our priority throughout has been to ensure that patients can still access effective services at the Hospital and I hope that this outcome will demonstrate that its future was never in doubt.”

“Serco has put in significant investment and improved the patient experience since taking over in 2011. We will be working closely with MEHT and Serco over the coming weeks to ensure minimum disruption to patients.”

Under NHS contract rules, the CCG is allowed to transfer the current contract to another NHS provider. The procedure, known as ‘contract novation’, will secure the provision of acute services and continue best use of publically funded day theatres. All sub-contractors will be able to carry on providing services for the lifetime of the contract. It also means that this prized local healthcare asset will remain in the control of the NHS.

Paul Forden, Chief Executive MEHT, says "Mid Essex Hospital Trust looks forward to the opportunity to develop the services provided at Braintree Community Hospital.  This is an excellent, modern facility with highly skilled staff that compliments the services offered from Broomfield Hospital and provides the opportunity to provide care closer to home for some patients living locally.  If you are a patient of BCH we look forward to welcoming you for your next appointment as planned and in the future we will offer greater choice to patients.”

"Braintree Community Hospital offers us the chance to develop our services, including day case surgery, in the new, well equipped theatres.  We see this as positive for the people of Essex to see more care delivered by the NHS with high standards of treatment and excellent patient experience."

Valerie Michie, Managing Director Health, Serco said: “I am pleased that Serco has now successfully reached agreement to hand over the management of Braintree Community Hospital and we are committed to ensuring a smooth transfer; it’s a great hospital with a fantastic team.”

“We are proud of the work that our people do day in, day out and of our achievements at the Hospital, where we have delivered significant improvements since taking over its running in 2011.  We have given high quality care and an improved patient experience to around 60,000 patient contacts a year.  100% of those patients we recently surveyed would recommend Braintree Community Hospital to friends or family and surgery waiting lists are typically nine weeks against a national target of 18 weeks.

“The decision to end this contract early was a very difficult one for us, but Serco’s opportunities to improve the utilisation of the hospital are constrained.”

MEHT will take over the management of the Hospital from 1 April 2014, before which Serco will continue providing the current range of services.