CCG faces legal claim against out-of-hours tender decision
Three CCGs have found themselves embroiled in a legal battle over the tendering of their local out-of-hours service, after the existing not-for-profit provider called in the lawyers.
A former GP co-operative that has run the service for nine years told Pulse that it had launched a legal bid against the CCGs in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland after commissioners selected a ‘recommended bidder’ for the service.
The CCG refused to say who the recommended bidder was, but the local LMC says it is becoming increasingly concerned as the current provider’s contract is due to expire on the 31 March.
A spokesperson at NHS North of England Commissioning Support Unit said the procurement process was ‘fully compliant with the relevant procurement legislation’ and considered a broad range of criteria.
She said: ‘The procurement process has ended and recommended bidders have been notified. However, since all bidders have been notified – a legal challenge has been made which prevents the CCGs from awarding contracts.
‘As commissioners, we are now urgently considering the challenge. As a result we will not be able to make any announcement regarding the outcome until the challenge has been resolved.’
Northern Doctors Urgent Care Limited confirmed that it was taking legal action over the procurement process, but was unable to say on what basis it had launched the legal process.
A spokesperson for Northern Doctors said: ‘We hope to be able to issue a statement soon, but we have taken legal advice on it so we have to listen to that.’
Northumberland LMC chair Dr Jane Lothian said the LMC was becoming increasingly concerned at the length of the procurement process.
She said: ‘We thought that there would be a decision on the award of the out-of-hours contract a long time ago and we would know the outcome by now, but we have actually not been able to find out anything. We are actually getting rather concerned now and it is on the agenda to discuss at our meeting on Thursday.’
Commenting on the end of the current out-of-hours contract, she said: ‘It is at the end of March, so it really is a very short space of time.’