HOSPITAL bosses denied a conflict of interest after bidding for a home care deal worth £284m.
The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust is part of a consortium which wants to provide community health services through the Care Closer to Home project.
It would allow cuts to be made at Dewsbury District Hospital – which Mid Yorkshire runs.
And former part-time Mid Yorkshire trust director Robert Flack is the chief executive of Batley-based rival bidder Locala.
Coun Paul Kane (Lab, Dewsbury East) believes there may be a conflict of interest.
He said: “I wouldn’t want there to be changes at the hospital by the back door as a result of whoever wins this contract.”
Mid Yorkshire’s consortium includes Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation NHS Trust.
The Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice and two GP practices in Huddersfield are also involved.
Not-for-profit social enterprise firm Locala, whose existing contract ends in September, is the only other bidder.
Coun Kane said despite a perceived conflict of interest there could also be a benefit.
He said: “I can’t be a hypocrite because I’ve campaigned for there to be less private involvement in the NHS.
“At least if Mid Yorkshire were to win, then as a public body they can be held to account.
“If a private company was to win, then it might be much harder to keep up with what they’re doing.”
Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust director of planning Caroline Griffiths confirmed Mr Flack has returned to Locala full-time.
She added: “Care Closer to Home will support the development of services at Dewsbury Hospital and we do not see this as a conflict of interest.
“There are many examples nationally and internationally of acute and community services provided in an integrated manner.
“New integrated models of care are a key component of the recently-published Five Year Forward View for the NHS.
“It has been shown these can deliver a number of benefits for patients and communities.”
Dementia services may be rolled into masterplan
DEMENTIA services may be rolled into a £284m district-wide community care masterplan. Details were given at a meeting of the North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) on December 3.
The meeting heard that current services for people with dementia are fragmented. A report for the CCG said the Care Closer to Home package would be an opportunity to improve the system.
Current dementia care is commissioned via mental health body the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. This includes memory assessments for the early detection and diagnosis of dementia.
Services can be affected by delays in A&E or problems when transferring a patient elsewhere.
The report said putting dementia into Care Closer to Home would reduce the impact of patients “falling” between services.
It would also more easily bring other mental health care into play where and when needed.
Two thirds of dementia sufferers in Kirklees live in their own homes while a third of carers, typically a relative, have depression.
Care Closer to Home would see personal care plans implemented by health workers. It is hoped better management of such conditions will keep more people out of hospital and offer more support to carers.
The report noted there were 4,500 people aged over 65 in Kirklees who had dementia in 2012. It added of change: “This would significantly contribute to improved integration between physical and mental health and a holistic approach to care.”
• Patients would recommend hospital services to others, a new survey found.
General surgery at the Dewsbury District Hospital site at Staincliffe was given a 100 per cent thumbs up in an NHS friends and family test.
The maternity unit’s delivery suite gained approval from 95 per cent of respondents.
Overall, 96.8 per cent of those surveyed would recommend treatment at the three hospitals run by the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust.
Trust director of operations Neil Clark said: “We are so pleased that our patients value the care we provide.
“Our staff do incredible work every day and should rightly feel proud of the services they provide.”