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.’