In November 2016, NHS Improvement announced Bridgewater NHS Foundation Trust and Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust were the preferred acquirers of LCH. However, last week, Bridgewater has been rated as 'requires improvement' following an inspection and as a consequence, NHSI has decided that it is temporarily pausing the transaction of services while it undertakes further assurance work.
We strongly believe that no NHS Trust should be allowed to bid for other NHS contracts, especially one of this magnitude, without at least a CQC rating overall as ‘good’. In the past, LCH was debarred from bidding for services when in similar circumstances.
It is evident from the CQC outcomes that Bridgewater is currently unable to deliver its existing services in a safe and effective way, it is our view that it would therefore be wholly inappropriate for them to be allowed to acquire further NHS contracts until and unless they have demonstrated that they have turned around their existing performance.
Should the current transaction continue in its current form we believe it would represent a huge risk to community services in Liverpool, both in terms of quality and safety. RCN North West understands that there is a high level of concern amongst staff and whilst we are reassured by the pause to consider the next steps, we want confirmation that our members can deliver safe quality care to the public in an appropriate working environment and will be closely monitoring the situation.