City NHS 'bleeding cash' on treatment deal
HEALTH bosses in Nottingham admit they are "haemorrhaging cash" through a contract with a treatment centre little used by city patients.
Medics at Barlborough Treatment Centre, already given millions in local NHS cash, carried out just one procedure on a Nottingham patient in May.
Barlborough Treatment Centre
It means the clinic, off Junction 30 of the M1, performed only 0.2% of the work it was paid for by NHS Nottingham City.
Since the start of the financial year in April the take-up rate among city patients at the centre has been 2.8% of what was expected.
City health officials have spent £312,000 in this time – but have seen only £9,000 worth of operations carried out.
Nottingham's primary care trust is locked into a Government-imposed five-year contract with Barlborough, which performs hip and knee replacements and soft-tissue procedures. Officials must pay a minimum amount to Care UK, which runs the centre, regardless of how many ops are carried out.
Last month the Evening Post revealed that only £4m of the £9m spent on the Nottingham contract had been used for operations.
The centre has received good reports for the quality of its treatment, but is considered too far from Nottingham for city patients.
Members of NHS Nottingham City's executive board discussed the problem at a meeting this week.
Chief executive Andrew Kenworthy said NHS trusts in other parts of the country had seen a near 100% take-up on their contracts with Barlborough.
And he admitted: "In terms of Nottingham, we are undoubtedly cross-subsidising other cities."
Chairman Ron Buchanan said there were only months to go on the primary care trust's contract with the centre.
He said: "It does mean we continue to haemorrhage cash where we could improve resources better elsewhere.
"We can't deny it is extremely disappointing. We have tried all we can before to improve performance."
Non-executive director Graham Ward said: "The take-up against the minimum is absolutely appalling. I notice it is getting quite good reports back, in terms of its clinical performance – but its take-up is next to nothing."
Medical director Trevor Mills said: "The other problem we have got is that they cherry-pick; they don't take any patients with complicated conditions.
"They will only take the straightforward ones, so that is limiting as well."
Care UK, which runs the centre, told the Evening Post in June that they carried out personal visits to GPs to encourage them to refer patients.
Graeme Kendall, general manager at Barlborough, said: "Over 2,000 GPs are now referring patients to Barlborough NHS Treatment Centre, with some PCTs using more than 100% of their share of the contract, so I'm at a loss to explain why take-up from Nottingham City PCT area for our services is so low.
"We're even getting patients from as far afield as Boston in Lincolnshire and London who have heard about our excellent track record. We do not 'cherry-pick' the less complicated cases, as we have no choice over which patients we see."