Island Health Services Put Out To Tender

St Mary's Health Centre

Councillors learned yesterday that the St Mary’s Health Centre services are being put out to tender by the NHS. And they’re doing it in two weeks time

Rachel Crawley from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Primary Care Trust broke the news.

She told members it was an exciting time.

Rachel has spent time in Scilly in meetings with staff and the community in order to find out how to join up the health services here.

She explained that they want one single accountable body to look after Primary Care services at the health centre.

The successful bidder would also provide the doctor cover for the hospital and the tender spec states that contractors would need to provide clinicians capable of more urgent and trauma work than their mainland counterparts.

The successful applicant will have to contract with an optometrist to ensure more regular eye tests and services in Scilly. Improving optician’s services has been a key campaign for the LINk watchdog.

Pharmacy services will also change.

The medical practice will loose its dispensing arm to become a local community pharmacy and the winning bidder will have to provide extra services, including nicotine replacement therapy, emergency contraception, treatment for people with minor ailments and for visitors who have forgotten prescriptions, in order to take the pressure off the GPS.

Rachel said the islands are fortunate to have a good pharmacy team now, but by agreeing a contract, the range and quality of services could be guaranteed if a team member left.

All mainland pharmacies and GPs were sent letters yesterday outlining what is on offer.

However, the pharmacy team at St Mary’s had not been informed of the change by the time it was announced in Council.

There’s up to £770,603 available annually with a potential pharmacy service value of £109,581.

Councillor David Pearson wanted to know how the islands would be protected from ‘for profit’ applicants.

Rachel said all of the current contract holders within the Cornwall and Isles Of Scilly Primary Care Trust are businesses and they wanted to find a single provider who ensures highest quality services, but also value for money.

Interested parties will be asked to attend a shopping mall on the mainland on March 27th to learn more about what they’d have to do.

Councillor Richard McCarthy wanted the islands to be represented but Rachel explained there is a strict scoring criteria and anyone wanting to take their interest further would be invited to look around the islands facilities.

Councillor Marian Bennett felt that was important, as teachers had sometimes failed in Scilly because they had not understood what to expect of life in the islands.

The closing date for bids is April 11th and the contract will commence next March.