Work ongoing to make healthcare contract more ‘efficient’ for Northamptonshire County Council after dispute

The county council has a long term PFI contract with Shaw Healthcare
The county council has a long term PFI contract with Shaw Healthcare

Council staff are ‘working hard’ to ensure that beds for elderly patients are used ‘in the correct way’ after a dispute over the performance of a private healthcare provider.

Northamptonshire County Council recently won a £100k settlement from Shaw Healthcare over the company’s performance in 2018/19. The council awarded Shaw a long term PFI contract in 2003 to run four healthcare centres for elderly people across the county.

The reasons behind why the settlement was agreed have not been disclosed in public, but Councillor Ian Morris – the newly appointed cabinet member for adult social care and public health – explained that staff were now ensuring that beds covered under the contract with Shaw Healthcare would be appropriately used.

Speaking at cabinet on Tuesday (July 9), Councillor Morris said: “Under the current contract we have with Shaw, I just wanted to mention the hard work that has been done to try and rework that contract. The work is continuing to make that as efficient a contract as possible for us.

“We can’t mention here the reasons behind the deduction, because it’s commercially sensitive. But I just wanted to assure everyone that we are working very hard with Shaw to make sure that the contract is as productive as it can be for this council going forwards, and that the beds within the Shaw contract are used in the correct way.”

In October last year, it was reported that around 50 to 70 per cent of beds were unoccupied each week at Shaw’s private care homes, as patients the county council were referring did not qualify under the contract. This is thought to have been costing the authority roughly £2million a year.

A county council spokesman last week told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the dispute related to the ‘obligation generally for Shaw to ensure that the facilities are maintained and available for use by clients’. Shaw Healthcare declined to comment on the settlement.