latest health care news

18.10.18

Council strips contract from NHS trusts and hands it to Virgin after High Court row

Lancashire County Council (LCC) has awarded a controversial £104m healthcare contract to Virgin Care for the second time after a hearing in the High Court ordered a re-evaluation of the decision.

The contract to run LCC’s Healthy Child Programme ‘0 to 19’ was originally awarded to the private company, but two Lancashire foundation trusts contested the decision and, following a High Court hearing in April, a judge set aside the decision.

Mr Justice Stuart-Smith ordered a full reassessment of the bids after it was ruled that Lancashire CC hadn’t followed the evaluation and procurement process correctly.

But now, following a re-evaluation of the bids, Virgin Care has once again been chosen as the preferred bidder for the contract, a move heavily criticised by unions.

The two trusts, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust (LCFT) and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (BTHT), did not score as highly in the re-run evaluation, which was overseen by an independent panel of senior experts.

County councillor Shaun Turner, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “Virgin Care has now been selected as preferred bidder to provide a range of new public health services for children aged 0 to 19 after the conclusion of this procurement process.

“The law requires the county council to open services such as these up to competition where they are not provided in house. In February 2017, the previous administration chose not to do the latter and instead decided to conduct the procurement process in the open market.

“This contract will ensure there is a consistent range of 0 to 19 services across the whole county, available to all, with additional support for those who most need it.”

The existing contract will continue to be run by LCFT and BTHT until the end of March next year, ensuring minimum disruption up until it expires.

In the absence of any challenge, the county council intends to enter into a full contract with Virgin Care.

But the choice to award the contract to Virgin was criticised by Unison as a “terrible decision.”

The union’s north west regional organiser, James Rupa, said: “At a time when other councils are trying to work more closely with local NHS organisations, LCC has chosen to shift over £100m of public money from the local NHS to Virgin.

“This decision will destabilise the local NHS in Lancashire, making it harder for them to provide a full range of health services.”

He claimed that that gap between the NHS bid and Virgin’s bid was of 0.07% and argued that the council was helping to privatise the delivery of the key NHS services.

Enjoying NHE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding across the health service. It’s now beyond more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News

comment

Data: the oil of the digital age

07/11/2018Data: the oil of the digital age

Adam Steventon, director of data analytics at the Health Foundation, review... more >
The clinical voice at the heart of procurement

10/10/2018The clinical voice at the heart of procurement

Jo Gander, director of the Clinical and Product Assurance (CaPA) team, talk... more >

interviews

How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to s... more >
681 149x260 NHE Subscribe button

the scalpel's daily blog

More men please!

14/11/2018More men please!

Kirstie Stott, director of the Inspiring Leaders Network, flips the gender balance debate on its head and asks: why aren’t there more male nurses? As an advocate fo... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

healthcare events

events calendar

back

November 2018

forward
mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
29 30 31 1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >