THE Isle of Wight NHS Trust has lost the contract to provide prison healthcare services.
A new three year contract has been awarded to Harmoni HS Ltd, part of the Care UK group, from April 1, a Southampton, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth (SHIP) Primary Care Trust cluster spokeswoman confirmed today (Wednesday).
Isle of Wight NHS healthworkers and staff work at the prison and it is not yet known how many jobs will be affected.
Harmoni will provide in-house GP services and primary care, mental health, pharmacy, physiotherapy, optometry and podiatry services to prisoners at HMP Isle of Wight.
It will also staff an inpatient healthcare unit within the Albany site, enabling prisoners to receive care for physical, mental health and substance misuse treatments.
Services will be provided at the Parkhurst and Albany sites, following last week's announcement Camp Hill is to close.
The Isle of Wight NHS Trust was one of three organisations shortlisted for the contract, which was awarded to Harmoni by a panel looking at criteria including quality, innovation and cost effectiveness.
Dr Stuart Ward, medical director for the SHIP PCT Cluster, said: "The tender process began in June last year, and has been subject to a robust evaluation process by a multi-disciplinary panel. We’re confident Harmoni will build on the already very good work of the Isle of Wight NHS Trust.
"We acknowledge the concerns and anxiety that can arise during periods of change, but would like to extend our thanks to all staff affected, and remain assured of their continued hard work, dedication and professionalism."
HMP Isle of Wight governor Andy Lattimore said: "Healthcare provision is a critical part of our work with offenders. I look forward to working in partnership with Harmoni as the new provider to ensure the health needs of our population are met."
*Isle of Wight Local Involvement Network (LINk), a local healthcare watchdog, said: "The Isle of Wight LINk was saddened to hear last week that on top of the closure of Camp Hill, that the NHS provider had lost out on the prison healthcare tender to a large private provider, we have been waiting for the official statement from SHIP before giving our response.
"The LINk has been working with the prison healthcare team to try and improve communication about and raise the profile of the excellent services that the provider has developed at the 3 sites.
"The LINk would like re-assurances from the new provider – Harmoni, part of Care UK, that it commits to continuing this work and that appropriate protocols will be put in place to ensure seamless services are provided for those treatments which take place at St Mary’s.
"We do have concerns about potential impact on staff in the prison healthcare team and potential impact on the local health economy as the award of this significant contract paves the way for other private providers to gain a foothold."