Carers’ Centre Hull loses its fight to land major £1.5m contract

Who cares for the family Carer?
Saturday, July 14, 2012

Hull Daily Mail

A CARERS charity has lost its fight to win a major £1.5 million contract.

Carers’ Centre Hull in Prospect Street, city centre, handed over a petition to try to save the centre yesterday, just hours before the City Heath Care Partnership (CHCP) was confirmed as the successful bidder.

  1. ‘Massive blow’: From left, Councillor Abigail Bell, Carers’ Centre manager Greg Harman and Councillor David McCobb, with concerned carers, handing over the petition to Hull City Council.

Despite more than 2,000 backing their plight, Hull City Council announced the contract decision had been upheld.

A joint statement issued by the council and NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group, which funds the support service, said: “Against the background of the significant changes within the NHS, it was decided that a Hull City Council-led procurement exercise would be a more stable and preferred option.

“A number of funding streams have been brought together to be able to provide a much wider range of services.

“The aim of retendering the current carers support service contract was to provide services designed by those who need them, in the way they want them and to reach more carers.

“This investment in the local carer support services has been subject to a rigorous procurement process and developed from consultation with carers themselves.”

The council says staff from the current centre will transfer on their existing terms and conditions to the new provider and experienced staff will continue to support carers.

Existing contracts have been extended to ensure that the risk of redundancy is minimised.

The current Carers’ Centre has been in operation for 13 years and was running on an annual contract which did not go out to tender.

Emotions were heightened recently when volunteers, carers and staff were told they could lose out on the funding and some councillors backed their bid to save their closure-threatened centre.

The future of the service now hangs it the balance and it is likely to lose its current premises in the city centre.

Centre manager Greg Harman said the contract decision came “like a bolt out of the blue” and they were “bombarded with e-mails, letters and calls” from concerned carers.

He said they could also lose £430,000 lottery cash with no funding support from the council.

Judith Spurling, 64, of Bilton, volunteers with the service, having turned to the centre for support while looking after her ill husband Colin.

She said: “The decision to award the contract to the NHS partnership is a massive blow to everyone.

“They have put their heart and soul into trying to save the centre and we don’t know what will happen next.

“There are still so many questions to be answered and we feel we haven’t been told enough.

“Our main concern is that the experienced staff won’t be able to continue their work in the way they have been for so many years.

“When everybody finds out the contract has gone to the partnership, they will be very upset.”

The new contract, which will start from September, is said to provide an expansion in services, improved support and sign-posting for all carers.

It also aims to retain the knowledge of existing carer support staff and continue to provide a city centre presence, which was a concern for many carers in the city.

The City Health Care Partnership was unavailable for comment at the time of going to print.


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