Following the announcement that Care UK have suspended two members of staff pending an investigation into management practices, Labour Councillors have called on the matter to be independently investigated and reported to Suffolk County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee.
Cllr David Ellesmere, Leader of Ipswich Borough Council, and Cllr Sarah Adams, opposition spokesperson for health and adult care, have sent the following letter to the Chair of Health Scrutiny, Cllr Michael Ladd, calling on him to have an independent review of the reasons why the two members of staff have been suspended.
The letter goes on to demand that, whilst there is a shadow over the working practices of Care UK, they should not be allowed to re-bid for the contract to run the NHS 111 service.
Cllr Ellesmere said: “Care UK need to come clean about what’s been going on and there needs to be an independent investigation into management practices. Until we can get public confidence back, Care UK should not be allowed to re-bid when this contract comes up for renewal.”
The following letter was sent to all Health Scrutiny members on 12 June 2014:
Dear Cllr Ladd
We hope you share our concern about the suspension of senior managers at Care UK’s NHS 111 service.
Given Care UK’s refusal to give any details on the reasons why these two members of staff have been suspended we feel it is imperative that this matter be brought before Health Scrutiny as a matter of urgency.
You will be aware that there are suggestions in the media that these suspensions are related to falsification of information relating to the time it takes to answer calls, although Care UK denies this.
Care UK need to be open and transparent and give details of what has happened and why they took the very serious action of suspending staff. Without these details, many people will assume the worst and that patient safety may have been compromised.
We do not believe that an internal investigation by Care UK into this incident is sufficient. The only way to get to the bottom of this is by a full, independent investigation. Without such an investigation, suspicions will always remain that wider shortcomings on Care UK’s part may have been swept under the carpet.
We also call on you to ensure, that whilst an independent investigation is ongoing, and before any recommendations from that investigation are implemented, that Care UK should not be allowed to re-bid for the contract to run the NHS 111 service.
We look forward to your response.
Cllr David Ellesmere (Leader of Ipswich Borough Council)
Cllr Sarah Adams (Shadow spokesperson for Health and Adult Care