GP practices face more competition for their enhanced services, with rising numbers of CCGs using a full tender or Any Qualified Provider (AQP) when commissioning LESs, new data obtained by Pulse reveals.
Around 22% of CCGs say they plan to put enhanced services out to full tender or AQP in 2015/16; a further 5% are considering using AQP in 2015/16.
This compares with 19% of CCGs using competition for enhanced services, such as planned care and phlebotomy, in 2014/15 and 8% in 2013/14. One CCG told Pulse it has all its enhanced services out to AQP.
The data were obtained by Pulse under the Freedom of Information Act from 109 CCGs and 82 local authorities.
Many CCGs were unable to specify the proportion of enhanced service spend that would be put out to competition this year, but currently 3.6% is projected to be subject to AQP or a full tender in 2015/16.
This figure is lower than the 7.4% last year and 5.4% in 2013, but is expected to rise with activity during the year and is an underestimate because some CCGs with responsibility for co-commissioning included national DESs in their total.
One CCG – NHS North Kirklees CCG – told Pulse it had put all its enhanced services out to AQP in 2013 under three-year contracts.
Local authorities reported a big increase in the percentage of enhanced services funding going to competition and AQP. Some 24% of local authorities are intending to use competition this year – up from 18% last year.
Both local authorities and CCGs reported an increase in spending on enhanced services, but some of this is due to CCGs taking over national enhanced services or public health LESs.
In total, the value of enhanced services put out to competition has risen slightly to 7.75% when extrapolated across CCGs and local authorities.