latest health care news

20.01.15

Trusts challenge NHS England decision to award contract to private firm

A number of NHS trusts has launched a formal challenge against an NHS England decision to award a 10-year, £80m contract for PET CT scanning to a private company.

The contract, which covers about five million patients, was awarded to Alliance Medical in December, beating a bid from a consortium of the University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust, Wirral-based Clatterbridge Cancer Centre Foundation Trust and the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust.

The consortium confirmed it has lodged a formal challenge to the procurement decision.

University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust chair John MacDonald said: "We have now launched a formal challenge and are currently waiting for those discussions to be completed.”

Details have not been released but the challenge is believed to focus on the bid process followed by NHS England.

The scanner is based at Royal Stoke University Hospital (Part of University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust) but is partly owned by Keele University and was installed following a £1m research grant, and donations of £250,000.

The existing contract for imaging services is due to end in April when the new contract with Alliance Medical is scheduled to begin. This may be delayed by the trusts’ challenge, but patients will still be seen and treated under the terms of the current contract.

A spokeswoman for NHS England said: “NHS England is currently running a procurement process to ensure people who require medical imaging continue to receive a high quality sustainable service.

“We are working with all parties to try to reach an agreement that is in the best interest of patients and allows continued use of the charity-funded scanner at the Royal Stoke University Hospital.”

(Image: Siemens Biograph PET-CT scanner. Source: Brudersohn )

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