Child and adolescent mental health services and short breaks for disabled children are among the children’s services a local NHS authority is due to privatise.
NHS Devon has confirmed the social care services, along with a host of children’s health services, will be included in plans to farm out the county’s integrated children’s service, which is currently run by Devon council on behalf of NHS Devon.
Children’s services in the county to be outsourced to private firms include child and adolescent mental health services, short breaks for disabled children, palliative care, school nursing and health visiting.
These services’ duties in regards to safeguarding children will be unaffected.
Three private groups are in the running to take over the service: Richard Branson’s Virgin Care, which was known as Assura Medical until this month when it adopted the famous Virgin branding; Serco and Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust; and a consortium consisting of Devon Partnership NHS Trust, Barnardo’s, Young Devon and Interserve.
They are due to submit their final bids at the end of April.
Child protection services in Devon will not be outsourced, however, the authority has confirmed.
It follows newspaper reports earlier today which suggested that child protection could be included in the plans.
Rory McCallum, head of child and adult protection at the council, confirmed child protection would remain the responsibility of the council.
“To be absolutely clear, child protection has always been, and continues to be, the responsibility of the county council,” he said.
“Those social workers working with Devon’s most vulnerable children and families and leading the child protection process will continue to be employed by the county council,” he added.
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