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Largest NHS contract ever awarded fails in first year

An £800m contract to provide older people’s and adult community services, the largest contract in NHS history, has fallen through this week after the trusts that won the bid said the arrangement was not financially sustainable.

The contract in Cambridge and Peterborough covered the provision of urgent inpatient and A&E services, mental health services and adult community health services to adults aged over 65, and was supposed to run for five years from its launch in April 2015.

It had been hailed as a victory by anti-privatisation groups when NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG announced in November 2014 that the contract had been awarded to UnitingCare Partnership LLP, a combined bid by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The partnership won out over bids from private firms Virgin Care and Care UK, and local GPs said at the time there was ‘relief’ that the services had been kept within the NHS.

But this week’s announcement reveals that the current contract, which required significant efficiency savings, was unsustainable.

In a joint statement, NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG and UnitingCare said services would remain, but: ‘Unfortunately both parties have concluded that the current arrangement is no longer financially sustainable.’

It adds: ‘We are clear that the innovative model of care for older people and people with long-term conditions brings benefits for patients and the whole health and care system and we are all agreed that we wish to keep this model of integrated service delivery.

‘The CCG will be working with providers of services in the coming days to ensure that there is a smooth transition for all concerned.’

Readers' comments (16)

  • Are you listening up there in Manchester?

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  • Was it a surprise? Everybody is trying to get more done on less. It can't be done unless you cut services and cut corners. When you cut corners things go wrong and get substandard care. Simple mantra in life you get what you pay for. You can't buy Rolls Royce when you only have money for Fiesta. Only solution is to fund services properly. That means co payment system. Nothing else will work as this government does not have more money to put in NHS.

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  • Comments from last year...

    ‘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.

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

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  • Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho, surpluses, surpluses, ha ha ha ha ha ha

    Patients will DEFINITELY suffer, and nobody accountable.

    Manchester next. Can't wait for the 2017 Ivan post - it would have / could have / should have worked.

    Manchester and the like - if it looks like one, smells like one, then it probably is.

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  • Britain is a failed state. The same idiots continue down the path of stupidity and lunacy and expect to get different was working fine before when primary care was properly funded and the independent contractor model was protected; Introduce the market and here's what happens...

    we all know where this is headed and in 2or 3 years time when it collapses here we will be again with the i told you so's.


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  • Ivan dont trust the powers that be to support you they have set you up for a big fall,you will be underfunded.It will be a very lonely place when the world collapses about you and everyone else watches the carnage.

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  • Any comments Jeremy? All part of the plan?

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  • This isn't about 'the market'. There is always a market - people don't work for free, drugs don't buy themselves and there was always a mechanism to distribute funds to providers. This was often opaque however with teaching hospitals winning through power and influence.

    The problem is the underfunding, with no way for the average patient to put more towards their care in this uniquely British closed system.

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  • they clearly were not innovative and resilient enough. Manchester will be different - they will lead the way and show how to do it. I wouldn't be surprised if Manchester turns in a surplus and the region attracts 5000 new GPs all by itself. Only in Manchester can £1 of funding generate £10 of care. Anyone that disagrees is a doomsayer and negative. We simply have to roll up our sleeves, have a stiff upper lip and get on with it.

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  • Why don't they put a simple rate for something they brag about as payment by result but are reluctant to allow this in general practice.
    I propose a simple payment for every patient: £10 pounds per patient; £5 for each tel consultation and 25£ for every home visit plus full crown indemnity, CQC, GMC and rent reimbursement. NHS Empl0yer contribution should be reimbursed by the government as although we are classified as self employed- we have little choice on what we do and always have to obey the diktat.
    If somebody wants to invest money on RCGP/BMA memberships - it is their choice and privilege.

    For a GP seeing around 35 patients daily and attending 2 home visits and doing average 10 tel calls per day, it should then give an equivalent to at least some parity to what one has to pay a locum per day.
    I'm not for privatization of the NHS in any way but drastic times call for drastic measures. And this is one such measure and one such moment in time.

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