Contingency hospital plan set out by health commissioners

Members of the public are being asked their views on plans for how critical hospital services will be provided – if Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust is no longer able to run them
Amanda Sullivan, Chief Officer of the Mansfield and Ashfield CCG.Amanda Sullivan, Chief Officer of the Mansfield and Ashfield CCG.
Amanda Sullivan, Chief Officer of the Mansfield and Ashfield CCG.

Clinical commissioning groups in Mansfield and Ashfield and Newark and Sherwood have put together contingency proposals to ensure key services will always be available – even if the trust goes bust, or is not allowed to deliver them because of quality reasons.

The news comes after the Chad reported last month how crisis measures had been introduced at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs a number of sites, including King’s Mill Hospital in Sutton, after a scathing health watchdog inspection.

An inspection from the Care Quality Commission revealed too many patients were still dying at King’s Mill, and the hospital was in a worse state than when it was first placed in special measures two years earlier.

Kings Mill Hospital.Kings Mill Hospital.
Kings Mill Hospital.

The CQC revealed Sherwood Forest trust, which also runs Ashfield Health Village in Kirkby, Mansfield Community Hospital and Newark Hospital, has failed to improve in all but one of the 18 targets set in 2013 – while the trust is performing significantly worse in many areas, according to the report.

The process, known as Commissioner Requested Services, is a requirement of all clinical commissioning groups by Monitor, the health sector regulator for England.

Commissioners are reassuring the public this is an exercise in contingency planning and does not indicate local health services are going to be changed.

Dr Amanda Sullivan, chief officer for the CCGs, said: “We can understand any discussions about contingency planning for hospital failures can be worrying, because this is a new process for the NHS.

“However, we have an obligation to ensure vital acute NHS services are protected.

“In light of current concerns about the stability of our main hospital provider, we are simply carrying out duties to plan for any eventuality.

“We are asking a series of questions about our proposals and encourage people to let us know their views.”

Once in place, the plans will mean acute hospital services will always be delivered in the locality and will be protected, no matter what happens to the current provider.

The CCGs have published a leaflet outlining the hospital services it thinks should always be provided from their existing locations, such as the range of emergency services, maternity and neonatal services and services at Newark Hospital.

They have also listed services that could potentially be provided in the community or at another hospital should Sherwood Forest hospitals no longer be able to deliver them.

It is these lists that it wants people to comment on.

People are invited to attend open events to give their views at events being held on:

Tuesday November 24, 10am -noon – Turner Community Hall, Welbeck Road, Mansfield Woodhouse;

Tuesday November 24, 1- 3pm – The Summit Centre, Pavilion Road, Kirkby;

Tuesday November 24, 6-8pm – Clipstone Social Club, Mansfield Road, Clipstone;

Thursday November 26, 10am-noon – Newark Town Hall, Market Place, Newark

Thursday, November 26, 6-8pm – Edwinstowe House, High St, Edwinstowe.

People can also complete an online questionnaire by visiting and

Under the Monitor guidance, all CCGs have until March 2016 to complete their Commissioner Requester Services review.

Karen Fisher, acting chief executive at Sherwood Forest Hospitals trust, said: “Those who commission our services have a mandate to engage with the local population.

“We recognise the vital role our communities have in helping to guide where hospital services are provided.

“Our focus remains on delivering safe, high quality care for our patients.”