Sue Ryder has picked up a five-year contract to provide all specialist palliative care services in west Berkshire in the first instance of an NHS-run hospice being transferred to a voluntary sector provider.
The health and social care charity won the contract from Berkshire West Primary Care Trust as part of the Department of Health’s Transforming Community Services agenda. This agenda will see PCTs focus on commissioning of services rather than both commissioning and providing.
Sue Ryder has taken over the running of all palliative care services previously provided by the PCT, including inpatient facilities at Duchess of Kent House hospice in Reading; outpatient clinics; day therapy services in three locations; psychological, spiritual and bereavement care, a community specialist palliative care team and a wide range of allied health and social care professionals.
Some 96 NHS staff have transferred to the charity under TUPE.
A spokeswoman for Sue Ryder said there was no competitive tender for the work; the PCT simply chose Sue Ryder on the basis of its previous dealings with the charity and its experience of delivering similar services in other areas.
Berks West PCT had previously commissioned in-patient beds at Sue Ryder’s hospice in Oxfordshire.
By pooling all the region’s palliative care services into Sue Ryder, the PCT hopes to achieve greater consistency in service provision, allow services users to access care closer to their homes, and expand the current level of service provision by subsidising expenditure with voluntary donations.
It is the first county-wide public service contract the charity has won.
No longer Sue Ryder Care
Separately, Sue Ryder has dropped the moniker ‘Care’ from its name following a public consultation. The spokeswoman said: “We asked the public how they viewed us and people told us they knew more about our shops than our health and social care. They saw our name as corporate and distant, and were unclear about what care meant.
"We asked how we should change and they told us to speak plainly and directly about the challenges faced by people we support, and to present ourselves as up-to-date.”