'Time is up' for Hertfordshire surgery centre say MPs

PUBLISHED: 11:45 28 July 2012

MPs Grant Shapps and Stephen McPartland outside the Department for Health

MPs Grant Shapps and Stephen McPartland outside the Department for Health

Archant

TIME has run out for the private operators of a multi-million pound surgery centre, two MPs have said.

Grant Shapps and Stephen McPartland have taken their concerns about the Lister Surgicentre to health minister Simon Burns.

After a catalogue of problems, including operation cancellations, medical notes going missing and long waiting lists, they say it is time to bring the “sorry saga” to a close.

And the MPs are demanding the facility, based at the Lister Hospital in Stevenage be brought back under the control of the NHS.

Private health firm Clinicenta is nine months into a five-year contract with NHS Hertfordshire to carry out routine surgery.

Welwyn Hatfield MP Mr Shapps said: “I outlined to the health minister the number of complaints I have received about Lister Surgicentre and told him my constituents were not prepared to tolerate such a sub-standard provision of health care.

“It’s time to bring this sorry saga to a close.”

Mr Shapps said the Surgicentre was only treating about 50 per cent of patients within 18 weeks, despite having fewer referrals than expected.

Stevenage MP Mr McPartland said: “The service provided to patients and their families is just not good enough.

“They have failed and I will not accept or allow them to fail my constituents. Their time has run out.”

NHS Hertfordshire chief executive Jane Halpin said they had been working closely with Clinicenta to address “a number of ongoing issues” and make the necessary improvements.

She said: “As commissioners of the service, the PCT put together a dedicated team of highly experienced specialists to oversee the contract and the quality of services.

“We have provided them with resources and support, such as weekly contract management meetings, seconding senior staff and driving improvements in communications with patients.”

She added: “We have made clear our expectations and outlined the need for all elements of these services to meet required standards and patient expectations.

“In all the work we have done to help improve the performance of these services, our top priority has been to ensure the quality, safety and care of patients.

“We will continue to take the necessary measures to ensure services to the public are safe and that standards are met.”

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