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Cambridgeshire CCG five-year contract crumbles after eight months

A five-year NHS outsourcing contract awarded by Cambridgeshire & Peterborough CCG has collapsed after just eight months after UnitingCare Partnership said the deal was not financially sustainable.

UnitingCare, an NHS consortium of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS FT with Cambridge University Hospitals NHS FT, was named the preferred bidder in October 2014 to improve older people’s healthcare and adult community services in the region. It began running services in April of this year.

The £800m contract, delivered with support from the Strategic Projects Team, was perceived as a key milestone in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG’s Older People’s Programme to better healthcare for the area’s increasing number of residents over 65.

It had also served to calm fears that the bidding process could lead to the single largest privatisation of NHS services, especially since private firms such as Capita and Circle had expressed an early interest in the contract.

At the time, the contract represented an early and landmark example of outcome based contracting, and the parties hoped the long-term nature of the contract would give Uniting Care time to invest in and transform services.

But in a joint statement released today (4 December), the CCG and UnitingCare said both parties in the consortium concluded the arrangement was no longer economically viable.

Dr Neil Modha, chief clinical officer at the CCG, and Keith Spencer, UnitingCare chief executive, guaranteed that patients and frontline staff would not be affected despite the breakdown of the contractual agreement.

“We would like to reassure patients and carers that services will continue and will not be disrupted. Frontline staff have been doing a great job delivering the new model of care,” they added.

“They are crucial to the provision of good quality care for our patients and are very much part of future arrangements.”

Modha and Spencer said the CCG understood that the innovative model of care for older people and people with long-term conditions brought forth by the partnership brings benefits to patients and the whole healthcare system. All parties involved agreed to retain the same 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,” they said.

But Richard O'Leary, GMB's regional organiser, was less positive, commenting:"Can the government and the CCGs now heed the warnings of conflicts of interest and wasting money involved in these NHS outsourcing. GMB members spent a lot of their time lobbying for this outsourcing not to go ahead. They were ignored. GMB members were right and the CCG was wrong."

When the contract was awarded last year, campaigners attacked the CCG for carrying out an “unnecessary and highly wasteful” bidding process that drained the health service of £1m.

A spokesperson for The Strategic Projects Team, which is hosted by Greater East Midlands CSU, said: “The Strategic Projects Team were amongst those appointed by Cambridgeshire & Peterborough CCG to provide support over an 18-month period to the management of an Integrated Older People’s Pathway and Adult Community Services delivery model and procurement. The process was the subject of detailed internal and external scrutiny and approval stages throughout. Our successful association was completed in February this year.

"As the NHS England Five Year Forward View recognises, and as the CCG confirmed, we are clear that the model of integrated service delivery care for older people, and those with long-term conditions, brings benefits to patients and the wider health and care system.”


Don Keiller   02/02/2016 at 16:20

This fiasco is hardly a surprising turn of events, as it was headed up by Dr Neil Modha. I have had dealings with Dr Neil Modha, on an unrelated matter and he has proved to be completely untruthful.

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