A CONTROVERSIAL move to award a new contract to run health services for bone, muscle and joint problems in West Sussex has been called off.

However health bosses at Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) insist they still intend to shake up the way musculoskeletal services are provided in the county.

The CCG sparked outrage when it revealed last year it wanted to award the £325 million contract to Bupa CSH instead of to NHS providers.

However Bupa CSH pulled out of the process when an independent assessment into the contract revealed it could cost Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs hospitals in Worthing and Chichester, £13.4 million over four years.

It was also suggested there would be problems attracting and retaining staff if the trust lost the service.

The CCG has now decided to halt the existing contract process and is looking to existing providers to provide the new look service.

CCG clinical chief officer Katie Armstrong said: “The decision to halt the existing procurement process does not impact on the CCG’s desire to introduce the new service.

“The MSK service model was designed by clinicians and patients and is a strong and well-supported model.

“The CCG will keep all options open, with an aim to introduce the service as quickly as possible.

“We will begin discussions with current providers of MSK services as our preferred approach.

“Current contracts have been extended to the end of September 2015.”