Select Committee on Health Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Appendix III

Examples of BUPA's Partnerships with the Public Sector

  1.  BUPA Hospital Hull And East Riding has worked closely with local GPs and NHS Trusts in order to help them achieve their waiting list targets. During 2000, the BUPA hospital formed a working party with East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust to ensure closer dialogue. This has led to, amongst other things, the development of a specific pre-assessment checklist to be met in the case of each patient before admission to BUPA's hospital. Consequently, BUPA receives those patients who suffer from defined conditions and have been on a waiting list for a defined period. This leaves the NHS free to treat any patient in need of its specialist services. Because of the close dialogue between the two parties, BUPA knows what type of patients to expect and even approximate numbers. This forward knowledge allows maximum use of BUPA's resources to be made by the Trust.

  2.  Addenbrooke's Hospital and BUPA Cambridge Lea Hospital have entered a unique public-private partnership that has enabled both hospitals to benefit from the use of a new MRI scanner. BUPA Cambridge Lea provided the accommodation for the new scanner. It receives rent from Addenbrooke's for the facility. The scanner operates as a satellite of Addenbrooke's, is staffed by Addenbrooke's staff and all revenues go to the NHS. The project took only one year from inception to the first scan.

  3.  In Reading, nurses from the BUPA Dunedin Hospital work with the local Primary Care Group to provide rectal bleeding diagnostic facilities. Special clinics are held on a fortnightly basis for patients who would otherwise have been referred for a standard outpatient appointment. This previously resulted in a wait of up to eight weeks, not including the time taken to produce and send the results back to the GP. This partnership arrangement takes two to three months out of the original diagnosis process, reducing worry and increasing the chances of detecting colo-rectal cancers at an early stage. This specialist unit clinic currently treats up to 150 patients a year.

  4.  BUPA Chalybeate Hospital, one of our specialists cardiac units, is routinely invited to help with local coronary bypass surgery waiting list initiatives in Southampton. Initially, the local NHS Trust committed itself to a six-month cost/volume contract for cardiac services. This provided best value for money with maximum flexibility. To this end, BUPA Chalybeate now performs approximately 280 cardiac surgical procedures, including bypass operations, for the NHS each year. Negotiations are under way regarding a medium-term two-three year contract for Chalybeate's services.

  5.  BUPA Care Services has already shown its expertise in providing health and social care services to local authorities and to various NHS purchasers.

  6.  The independent care homes sector, in which BUPA Care Services is the market leader, provides approximately 85 per cent of care home beds in the UK. Increasingly, local authorities, for example Bedfordshire and Powys, are withdrawing from direct provision. Driven by the best value imperative, these local authorities have contracted out the management of their care homes to BUPA. BUPA has entered into a 12-year contract with Bedfordshire Local Authority to run 15 care homes (approximately 450 beds) on its behalf. As part of the contract, Bedfordshire purchases 90 per cent of the beds from BUPA, whilst the rest of the beds are occupied on an individual basis. BUPA also manages day care centres for Bedfordshire, including three stand-alone facilities, one of which specialises in dementia care. The contract includes an investment of £5 million by BUPA and the local authority to bring the homes up to current regulatory standards.

  7.  As part of the investment plan, BUPA has recently opened a 60-bed home in Dunstable, which operates as part of the contract. BUPA and Bedfordshire Local Authority meet regularly to discuss partnership arrangements to ensure they continue to meet local needs. This has led to the development of intermediate care beds in two Bedfordshire homes and the provision of specialist rehabilitation services when they are required by the health authority. BUPA has worked hard to provide training opportunities for care home staff in Bedfordshire. This has led to some people being promoted through the ranks to become home managers.

  8.  In 1999, BUPA engaged in a 10-year contract with Powys County Council to run 12 of its residential homes. As part of the contract, BUPA has committed to spend over £2 million on a joint development plan designed to improve infrastructure and allow staff to continue to provide high standards of care. Refurbishment work is already underway at nine homes and is due to start shortly on another three.

  9.  We are providing step-up, step-down and specialist care, for conditions like Parkinson's Disease, to help ease the pressure on NHS acute beds.

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