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Bedford trust rejects Circle MSK contract

Bedford Hospital NHS Trust has refused to sign a contract to become a sub-contractor to Circle for musculoskeletal services (MSK) in the area.

According to HSJ the NHS hospital said that doing so would “endanger the [service’s] viability”.

Circle was appointed to run an integrated MSK service in Bedfordshire - which is worth around £120 million - this April.

However, MSK referrals to Bedford Hospital plummeted by 30% following Circle’s appointment leading to Bedford’s refusal to sign the contract.

Hospital chief executive Stephen Conroy said Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Circle had refused to guarantee a minimum income guarantee for 2014-15 on the grounds it would limit patient choice.

Board papers from the hospital said: “The significant reduction in referrals since April, and associated potential loss of income… mean a direct impact on the viability of the trauma service which in turn will undermine the ability of A&E to see and admit trauma patients.”

The board therefore concluded that it “would not be in the trust’s best interests to sign a contract without any mitigation to the consequent impact on trauma and linked services”.

A spokesman for Circle told HSJ: “Most providers recognise our job is to integrate MSK services, so they are more joined up for patients and more efficient for the local NHS. We’ve had constructive discussions with Bedford and expect to sign a contract in the coming months.”


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Posted on: 07/11/2014

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