Corby Urgent Care Centre operators say they won’t bid for new contract

Corby's Urgent Care Centre.
Corby's Urgent Care Centre.

The operators of Corby’s Urgent Care Centre say they will not bid for a new contract to run the service unless they are given more money.

Lakeside+ Limited has run the centre since 2012 but became embroiled in a funding row in March, which led to fears over the centre’s future.

Corby CCG insisted that the centre would remain open and a tender process has opened for a new one-year contract, which would begin on October 1.

But Lakeside+ says it will not bid to run the centre unless the CCG meets NHS national tariffs and stops capping the sums it will pay.

A spokesman for the operator said: “Lakeside+ is not prepared to sign up to a contract that it considers will not be safe and which will see patient standards dropping to unacceptable levels. 

“We will not be bidding for this contract and cannot see how any responsible NHS operator could guarantee service delivery and safety under this contract when staff costs alone will be higher than the money the CCGs are prepared to pay.”

The spokesman added that under the proposed contract, any operator would have to reduce hours and cut back of staff numbers.

The spokesman said: “These new sums will not meet the current staff costs, let alone pay for building costs, insurance, the cost of drugs or all the other costs of running the UCC.

“Any contractor who has to operate within the CCG’s capped sums will have to reduce hours and cut back on the number of doctors.

“That means that the contractor will not be able to provide the public with acceptable service and safety standards, let alone fulfil the terms of the contract.”

Corby Urgent Care Centre treats patients who would otherwise attend A&E at the likes of Kettering General Hospital, reducing waiting times.

Lakeside+ has now called on the MP for Corby, Tom Pursglove, to intervene and ask the Department of Health to stop the proposed contract and ask it to require CCGs to pay nationally-set prices to operators.

A spokesman for Corby CCG said the new contract would be on a ‘caretaker’ arrangement, with the view to a long-term contract bidding process next year.

The spokesman said: “NHS Corby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is now undertaking a process to secure a provider to ensure that there is no disruption of the Urgent Care Centre service when the current service expires at the end of September.

“This new contract will be a ‘caretaker’ arrangement, where services will be exactly as they are now for a 12-month period.

“This provides the time and space for the CCG to engage with the public about the future shape of urgent care services in Corby, ahead of procurement of a longer-term contract in 2018.

“We would like to take this opportunity to reassure the public that the highest standards of patient safety and care will continue to be met by the provider, whichever that may be, at the end of September.”

Tom Pursglove has been contacted for a comment.