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CCG awards £2.3m worth of enhanced services to new GP federation

A CCG has awarded all its existing enhanced services, worth £2.3m, to a new single federation made up of all practices in the region.

NHS South Worcestershire CCG intends to continue all of the current local enhanced contracts, which have a total value of £2.3m, by contracting SW Healthcare Limited – the provider arm of the local GP federation, which is jointly owned and run by all 32 member practices of the CCG – as one ‘prime provider’ of all services.

This is the first known instance of a CCG commissioning all its enhanced services out to a new GP-led provider organisation.

NHS South Worcestershire CCG said it had published its decision through the ‘relevant procurement channels’. It said it had followed all the NHS England guidance on commissioning enhanced services and took independent advice from auditors on managing conflicts of interest.

In the chief operating officer’s report to the CCG Governing body meeting on 27 March, the CCG said: ‘The CCG clinical executive committee approved a proposal to seek a prime contractor arrangement for the range of locally enhanced services that the CCG wishes to procure in primary care during 2014/15. Subsequent to that decision a transparency notice was published through the relevant procurement channels that outlined the intention to award this contract to SW Healthcare Limited, who are the new GP federation consisting of the south Worcestershire GP practices.’

‘Subject to the responses to the transparency notice, negotiations will start to determine whether an agreement can be finalised with SW Healthcare Limited. If this is not possible the plan will be to revert to the 2013/14 mechanism of contracting directly with each of the 32 practices for the provision of these services.’

Dr Carl Ellson, Chief Clinical Officer for NHS South Worcestershire CCG said: ‘We take conflicts of interest very seriously and followed all of the guidance set out by NHS England which relate to the recommissioning of enhanced services and avoiding conflicts of interests. We have also sought advice from external auditors to review our processes for managing conflicts of interest and to provide assurance that they are sufficiently robust.’

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘CCGs have the ability to commission in this way and should not automatically assume that local enhanced services should be subject to competitive tender. Local patients would expect these type of services to be available from all local practices.’