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CCG signs largest ever NHS contract

A CCG has signed off the largest contract in the NHS’s history, which has been awarded to a partnership of two NHS trusts for the £800m provision of older people’s and adults’ services.

NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG has awarded the contract to UnitingCare Partnership, formed by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, ahead of bids from Virgin Care and Care UK.

The partnership will provide urgent inpatient and A&E services, mental health services and adult community health services including district nursing and rehabilitation to adults aged over 65 .

The contract is worth between £140m and £160m a year, and will run for five years from April 2015.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG chief strategy officer Andy Vowles said: ‘The design and procurement process has allowed a collaborative approach for a range of organisations to come together, develop and propose solutions to some of the service challenges we’ve had for many years.’

Labour shadow health secretary Andy Burnham had feared that the contract would go to a large private contractor and previously described it as ‘the most audacious sell-off yet’ of the NHS.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG chief strategy officer Andy Vowles said: ‘The design and procurement process has allowed a collaborative approach for a range of organisations to come together, develop and propose solutions to some of the service challenges we’ve had for many years.’

Professor Martin Roland,  professor of health services research at the University of Cambridge and a part-time GP in Cambridge, said there was ‘general relief’ that the contract had been awarded to NHS trusts.

However, he added: ‘A lot will depend on how effectively the CCG can police the contract… the CCG must make sure that this £800m isn’t simply used to shore up acute services.

‘The goal, however, is a really exciting one. Many of the world’s best healthcare systems (e.g. Kaiser Permanente, Group Health) are vertically integrated (i.e. include both hospital and community care) and this has always been a challenge in the NHS with its purchaser-provider split.

‘NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG has an ambitious vision to bring these sectors together, currently unmatched anywhere else in the English NHS. All eyes will be on how well they succeed.’

Dr David Wrigley, a GP in Lancashire and part of the Keep Our NHS Public campaign, said: ‘I would welcome the announcement that the contract is going to NHS hospitals. We know now that if the partnership makes a surplus it will be put back into patient care.

‘But the overall process of this kind of tendering is lunacy. It takes an enormous amount of money and bureaucracy to put together a tendering process like this. And during the time it takes them to do it they are taking their eye off the ball and not focussing on patient care.’

 

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Vinci Ho

    I think the question is, ' Was there a justification to put this contract out for tendering in the first place or was the CCG simply stifled to abide by section 75 ?'
    Had this CCG had the 'freedom'?

    As John Locke said ,'The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom.'

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  • is the cost of tendering in the public domain?

    surely this should be flagged up, concrete numbers will show where 'cronyism' really exists in our nation

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