More than 600,000 people in Suffolk will receive high quality community health services from UK service company Serco from today (1 October).
Serco, together with its partners, will provide a wide range of NHS services delivered under the name 'Suffolk Community Healthcare'. The services, which include community nursing, specialist nursing, community hospitals, speech and language therapy and specialist children's services, have transferred as part of a three-year contract.
To deliver the services, Serco is working with South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, a leading provider of community and mental health services, and Community Dental Services CIC, a staff-owned social enterprise which provides dental services to vulnerable groups.
Paul Forden, managing director of clinical services for Serco, said: "We are delighted that our contract to deliver NHS community healthcare across Suffolk has now started and look forward to working with our partners to provide a service of which the county can be proud.
"We have been working extremely hard to ensure both staff and services transfer smoothly and safely, without compromising the excellent care provided by SCH. Our patients should not notice any changes, and will continue to receive the same high quality care, delivered by the same teams and in the same locations as they do now.
Over the coming months Serco will work with NHS partners to develop a new model of integrated service delivery for Suffolk. Processes will be simplified and new technology introduced to boost efficiency, increasing the amount of time which clinicians can spend with their patients by around one quarter. Services will also be coordinated from a single centre, while patient records will be available at the point of care 24 hours a day. The new delivery model and other improvements to the service will be introduced fully next year.
"This exciting new model will place the patient at the heart of the service while empowering healthcare professionals to spend more time delivering a range of high quality services," added Mr Forden. "Through investment, the introduction of new technology and close partnership working, we believe we can deliver a truly exemplary service which will bring real benefits to the county's 600,000 population."Read more
Tracy Dowling, NHS Suffolk deputy chief executive said: "We are confident patients will continue to receive well-managed and effective NHS care of a high quality, which meets their needs. Serco was carefully selected as the best organisation to manage and deliver improved community health services. Over the last few months we have worked with Serco, Suffolk Community Healthcare staff and our other partners to make the transfer process as smooth as possible."
Dr Patrick Geoghegan OBE, chief executive of SEPT, said: "I am so pleased that the formal transfer of services is now in place. Our unique partnership with Serco and Community Dental Services ensures that local services remain local and it's 'business as usual' for staff and their patients.
"I am delighted to welcome all the staff who have transferred to SEPT and am confident that when joining SEPT they will bring with them the expertise, innovation, commitment and hard work that has been the trademark of the community health services across Suffolk."
James Watkins, chief executive of CDS, said: "We are delighted to be part of the team that will continue the provision of excellent patient-centred services in Suffolk. As a social enterprise, CDS is built on the strong foundations of NHS values providing responsive, high quality dental services that put patients at the heart of all that we do. We are enjoying working with the highly skilled Suffolk dental team and look forward to delivering outstanding services to the people of Suffolk."