A NEW contract deal could bring an end to a ban on patients from Redditch undergoing certain operations in Birmingham.
NHS England is currently consulting on the new contract which would include a clause preventing providers from refusing referrals in the way University Hospitals Birmingham has for patients from the borough and other areas.
Commissioners are hopeful it will bring to an end an embargo which was imposed by UHB four months ago on referrals for patients needing general surgery, pain management, general dermatology, urology and ear, nose and throat operations
The Trust argued rising demand from outside of its catchment area for secondary care, which could be carried out locally, was affecting waiting times for more complex procedures, such as complex cancer surgery or transplants, only it was able to provide.
The move was blasted by commissioners for breaching NHS rules around patient choice and concerns have also been raised by the Trust Development Authority, NHS England and Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter.
But UHB has stuck to its guns and insisted it would only lift the ban when demand reduced.
However Chris Emerson, head of commissioning for the CCG, said the new contract development could change the situation.
“We continue to work with the host commissioner in terms of building some pressure on the provider to lift the embargo.” she told a meeting of Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG’s governing body meeting.
“We have made a very strong case to UHB in terms of this embargo because we have analysed the data and while they claim referrals have significantly increased they have not for Redditch and Bromsgrove, that’s the point we are making.
“Hopefully that [contract change] will give us leverage on UHB to accept our referrals.”
So far 52 patients from the Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG area have been affected by the ban.
UHB did not respond to a request for comment.