Trust to restart construction of hospital in autumn as government ends PF2 contract (HSJ: 4 July 2018)

A trust hopes to restart construction work on its new hospital in October after the government terminated the private finance contract which funded the project.

Sandwell and West Birmingham Trust hopes to let an early works contract worth £15m-£25m to a new builder next month so that remedial work can be carried out on its Midland Metropolitan Hospital, where Carillion was its main contractor. 

It comes as the trust’s PF2 contract is set to be terminated following a decision by the banks and Treasury.

Last month the main lender, the European Investment Bank, withdrew up to £107m of funding for the project, six months after Carillion’s more


NHS trusts win legal fight over Virgin Care child health contract (Guardian: 22 June 2018)

A decision by Lancashire county council to award a £104m contract for children’s healthcare services to Virgin Care has been thrown out after a legal challenge by NHS trusts.

A high court judge found the local authority’s process was flawed and the contract for services for children aged 0-19 should not have been awarded to the private provider late last year.

The case hinged on the scoring system used by the council when it reviewed rival bids for the deal, which the trusts claimed had been applied more


NHS cost-cutting Capita contract put 'patients at serious risk of harm', find auditors (Independent: 17 May 2018)

Patients have been “put at serious risk of harm” by the failure of a £330m outsourcing exercise which NHS England contracted to the private firm Capita in a bid to cut costs, the National Audit Office has warned.

Women were dropped from national cervical cancer screening programmes and medical records and supplies have gone undelivered because of NHS England’s “deeply unsatisfactory” contract, it said in a report.

In a damning review the auditors lamented the outsourcing failure of another major public contract, saying neither the NHS nor Capita understood the complexity of the service. more


Private hospital group criticised for governance failures (HSJ: 17 May 2018)

A private hospital group has been told it must improve its corporate governance after a number of its sites were criticised in a leadership review by the Care Quality Commission.

The Huntercombe Group provides child and adolescent mental health inpatient care at four sites, of which two are rated good, one has been upgraded to requires improvement and one has yet to be rated. In the last year, two other sites closed after poor CQC reports.

The group is not a registered provider but through inspections of the individual units that are registered the CQC has been able to call for changes at group level. In the “well led” reports on the individual hospitals, it told the provider to submit an action plan to improve specialist CAMHS training and recruit more experienced CAMHS staff. more


GP practice taken over by Virgin Care goes from outstanding to inadequate in under two years (iNews: 16 May 2018)

A GP practice taken over by Virgin Care has been placed in special measures after going from an official rating of “outstanding” to “inadequate” in less than two years despite increased funding.

The Sutherland Lodge practice in Chelmsford, Essex, was taken over by the private provider in July 2016 after the previous partners handed back their contracts following £400,000 funding cuts to their contract with NHS England. Prior to Virgin Care taking over, the practice was among the 4 per cent rated outstanding across England. But an inspection report published on 14 May by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) reveals that Sutherland Lodge is now rated inadequate more


Breast cancer screening scandal caused by miscommunication between Hitachi Consulting and senior healthcare professionals (The Telegraph: 4 May 2018)

Up to 450,000 women aged 68-71 were denied mammograms as a result of an IT error that wasn’t highlighted for nealy 10 years. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt revealed that up to 270 women’s lives may have been cut short due to this error.

Public Health England has defended itself by insisting that Hitachi had told them that the problem was localised and that it wouldn’t impact on the scale that it has. However, the company has hit back at these allegations suggesting that PHE were alerted to the issue but failed to act on it until recently. more


Carillion liquidation causes delays to building 2 new major hospitals (The BBC: 2 May 2018)

The chairman of the BMA is concerned about the future of the building of two major hospitals previously contracted out to the now liquidated Carillion construction company. He said, “this is a classic example of what can happen when these PFI deals go wrong. The government has agreed to continue paying the public sector staff so that they can continue working and cause as little disruption as possible to patients.

However, the future of these new hospitals is not as certain. With an NHS that was already suffering due to the winter crisis the delay of these hospitals just puts further strain on services putting patients at risks. more


NHS England faces first legal challenge to plans for health shake-up (The Guardian: 23 April 2018)

NHS England faces a legal challenge to its plans to overhaul how the health service operates, which critics say are unlawful and could lead to patients being denied treatment.

Campaigners on Tuesday will try to derail plans to introduce of “ accountable care organisations” (ACOs), which they say could force doctors to decide what care a patient needs based on how much money is available rather than how sick someone is.

If the changes go through then individual hospital trusts and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) will no longer each receive an annual budget of their own. Instead NHS bosses would give a joint budget to pay for healthcare in whole areas of England to an ACO that would be made up of all the acute, mental health and other providers of NHS care locally. more


Private patient transport service slammed by patients (Ipswich Star: 16 April 2018)

E-zec Medical Transport Service took over responsibility for non-emergency patient transport service from the NHS on April 1. The company was requested to take an elderly patient who cannot walk to an x-ray and the company enlisted a 3rd party contractor to do it. The family complained the vehicle wasn’t fit for purpose as there were no facilities to keep him in his wheelchair, therefore he had to be transferred to a seat. The attitude of the team was poor and he was taken to the wrong department, resulting in him being late for his appointment. more


Private hospitals warned over failing safety and quality standards (The Guardian: 11 April 2018)

Private hospitals have been given two weeks to come up with a plan to “get their house in order” on safety and quality or else face tough sanctions imposed by the government, the Guardian has learned.

On Tuesday, Jeremy Hunt will write to the chief executives of 206 private hospitals across England following a damning report into the sector by the safety regulator last month.

The Care Quality Commission found that two in five private hospitals are failing to meet safety standards intended to protect the public from harm, intensifying concerns among ministers over patient safety. more


East Midlands Radiology consortium refuses to pay GE Healthcare  (HSJ: 4 April 2018)

EMRAD covers eight trust in the East Midlands and paid £30m for a cloud-based picture archiving and communication system from GE Healthcare. However, even in 2016 the programme was causing issues at Kettering General Hospital NHS foundation trust, who had a dangerous backlog of CT and MRI images. Since October last year, reported failures continue to the point of images being transferred to DVDs and sent in taxis to the appropriate specialist.

According to the HSJ, EMRAD are now refusing to pay the full service cost, until all issues are resolved with GE. EMRAD director, Tim Taylor, said that he intends on withholding a “reasonable sum” from the supplier until all requirements are met. GE healthcare spokesperson said, “We continue to work closely with EMRAD to resolve any issues.” more


Circle threatens legal action over £150m treatment centre procurement (HSJ: 27 March 2018)

Circle Health has pulled out of a bid to continue running services at the Nottingham Treatment Centre, and threatened clinical commissioning groups with legal action over their £150m three year procurement.

The company today issued a statement saying it had notified lead commissioner Rushcliffe CCG that it would be withdrawing from the tender process saying it does not provide a “sustainable basis” to deliver services at the treatment centre.

It said: “We now want to work with commissioners to ensure a fair, safe and sustainable service can continue for years to come at the Nottingham Treatment Centre. We will be exploring every possible option to make this happen, including legal challenge.”

The company did not provide any further detail on what specifically the focus of a possible legal challenge would more


Thames Ambulance loses North Lincolnshire contract (Scunthorpe Telegraph: 26 March 2018)

Thames Ambulance Service (TAS) started it’s contract with North Lincolnshire 18 months ago but has received significant criticisms since doing so.  The CCG has served notice on the company due to the fact that patients are experiencing difficulties with the service.

The CQC had required the TAS to improve in a number of areas but these improvements were not met sufficiently to continue its contract. They uncovered a range of failings, including one day where 13 patients were left waiting at the hospital for transport. Patients were also left waiting in the cold for transport and missing appointments because the service couldn’t be provided adequately enough to get patients there on time. One of the TAS staff members described the provider as "inept" and "disorganised". more


Capita fails to deliver GP Pensions (On Medica: 22 March 2018)

Since being outsourced by Capita in September 2015, Primary Care Support England (PCSE) has had increasing problems. To target improvements within the service, NHS England had a management watch team. However, since ending, the British Medical Association (BMA) reports an escalated issue of significantly slowed down services.

GP pension delays are at the centre of the scandal and there is an increasing number of reasons why the BMA say they are behind this. A Capita spokesperson said, "PCSE is responsible for administering pension documents on behalf of NHS England. We ensure forms have been completed properly and all required information has been provided by the GP".

However, Capita say that bank details are unavailable online for security reasons. A previous statement that said all forms need to be sent from an NHS email address has been retracted, yet locum A and B forms do not reflect that. NHSE and Capita still have unallocated money and questionably up to date pension records. Despite agreeing to release annual statements, this is not yet evidenced. more


G4S and Kent's non-emergency ambulance service (Kent Online: 7 March 2018)

G4S has a string of missing targets behind them regarding their performance with Kent’s non-emergency ambulance services. The company took over from NSL in 2016 with a £90m contract and provide free, non-emergency transport for people who are unable to get to and from hospitals in Medway and Kent.

However, patients have complained about missing appointments due to a lack of drivers to meet the high demand of patients. Getting to appointments on time has a target success rate of 95%, yet in March 2018, G4S were operating on only 71%. Complaints say pick up times are regularly changed in a day, and patients are not always ready to be collected. Another key target being missed is patients being taken home within 60 minutes of being discharged, this only complies to 47% of journeys rather then 95%.

G4S are concerned with the terms of the contract not reflecting the reality of the situation. Managing Director, Russell Hobbs, stated that there were negotiations to be done. He said, "While we recognise there is more work to be done to improve the service we provide, the current KPIs (key performance indicators) were set when we took over the contract and do not reflect the service performed now". The CCG said negotiations will continue and a fuller report will be analysed. more


NHS trusts accused of creating 'dozens of Carillion-style meltdowns' (The Guardian: 6 March 2018)

Growing numbers of hospital trusts are transferring staff into newly created private subsidiary firms in a move health unions warn will create a "two-tier workforce" in the NHS. Trusts are starting to see subsidiaries as a way of saving money after seven years of below-inflation annual budget increases and mounting financial problems due to an increased demand for healthcare.

Nineteen NHS trusts in England have already established a wholly owned subsidiary and begun transferring thousands of non-medical staff to them. Sixteen other trusts are considering doing the same in a fast-growing change in practice that they insist is intended to save money as employers, especially through paying less VAT. While private firms working for the NHS can claim back any VAT they are charged by the government, an NHS trust cannot, under the terms of the 1994 VAT Act. more


Arriva and staff payment (Manchester Evening News: 9 February 2018)

Ambulance staff working in Greater Manchester are considering striking after it was revealed that they were getting paid £2.40 less than other colleagues doing the same job. The service is provided by Arriva that make more than 1.2 million non-emergent journeys each year.

They hired 112 new staff on lower salaries on different T&Cs to their NWAS colleagues. There is a two tier workforce with new employees being paid more than people who have been there up to 5 years. more


BMA slams 'confusion, chaos and failures' behind misdirected clinical letters (GPonline, 1 February 2018)

NHS England continues to receive between 5,000 and 10,000 items of clinical correspondence a month that have been sent in error by GP practices to Capita, according to a report by the National Audit Office (NAO).

Under rules introduced in May 2015, GP practices that receive clinical correspondence that does not relate to patients on their practice list are meant to return it to the sender. This marked a departure from previous arrangements, under which practices passed this data to their local primary care support service for processing and redirection to the correct practice.

The GPC says NHS England 'has still not launched an effective information campaign aimed at GPs' despite continuing confusion among practices two years after the rule change. And despite thousands of letters continuing to be sent to Capita, the private provider's primary care support contract does not require it to redirect letters. more


Emis fails to meet standards of NHS digital (Digital Health: 22 January 2018)

Emis notified investors that it is due to receive penalties “in the order of upper single digits of millions of pounds” after failing to meet requirements in it’s GP system of Choice contract.

The company underwent an internal review of its customers and product support processes led by CEO, Andy Thorburn. After conveying those results to NHS digital, the findings suggest there were categories where Emis failed to meet the standards set out. However, they have published a statement saying that no security was breached: “Our immediate priority was to assess the extent of any clinical safety considerations. Our specialist clinical safety team, has concluded this assessment and there is no evidence that public safety or patient data has been put at risk as a result of this issue.”

The company provides 57% of all general practices in England under the GP System of Choice contract. GPSoC standards are reported monthly and any failure to comply results in financial penalties, which is expected to be upwards of £7m. NHS Digital said, "Emis Group have made us aware that they have not met some of their service and reporting obligations under the GP System of Choice Contract. We are now carrying out our own detailed analysis of the situation with their full cooperation". more


The NHS's £250m bill for treating patients after private surgery gone wrong (The Daily Mail: 22 January 2018)

Every year around 1.6 million people in this country undergo surgery at a private hospital.

While many pay for it themselves, it is estimated that around half of the inpatients are funded by the NHS.

This is done to help clear waiting lists and for these patients in particular, it can seem like they’ve hit the jackpot: going private may seem like the health equivalent of flying first class or booking into a top restaurant.

But while the experience should be the best that money can buy — and of course many patients are happy with their care — if something goes wrong, private hospital treatment can fall woefully and dangerously short. more


Revealed: 14 trusts start contingency plans after Carillion collapse (HSJ: 16 January 2018)

Contingency plans are in operation across 14 NHS trusts after the collapse of construction and facilities management company Carillion.

Staff from NHS Improvement were deployed on Monday at six of the biggest hospital trusts affected by the liquidation of the company.

A spokesman for the regulator said the “vast majority” of Carillion staff had turned up to work yesterday.

The staff will be paid by the government with consultancy firm PwC appointed as the official receiver.

Carillion was involved in the building of two major new private finance initiative hospitals: the £350m Midland Metropolitan Hospital near Birmingham and the £335m Royal Liverpool more


Middlesbrough £75 hospital with major safety defects (The BBC: 8 January 2018)

The hospital was built under a PFI with 150 contractors including Laing O’Rourke and Carillion, who will be questioned over numerous safety defects. The interviews will help to discover who is liable for the issues surrounding the safety of the hospital, which involves issues such as heating, water mains access and CCTV.

Several firms responsible for building the hospital in Darlington are to be interviewed over a total of twenty-eight different defects found within the project. The investigation came after worries that the defects were impacting on vulnerable patients and in 2016, serious safety concerns were decalred. Around 50 patients have already been moved due to safety concerns whilst work is carried out to rectify the problems. more


NHS trusts forced to find new transport services as firms exit market (HSJ: 8 December 2017)

London hospital trusts have been forced to bring patient transport services in house or re-tender them as incumbent firms exit the market.

Barts Health Trust in east London has confirmed it is bringing its patient transport contract in house after provider ERS stopped providing the service. ERS is owned by American firm SRCL and also ran services across the east of England and Yorkshire.

The company had been running the service since July 2014. In its most recent board papers, the trust said its in house provision, which began in October, was cheaper. more


CQC flags up 'deep concerns' with independent rehab providers (HSJ: 30 November 2017)

People with drug and alcohol addiction are being put at risk of harm at many independent residential rehabilitation units, a new report has warned.

The Care Quality Commission published the report today revealing nearly three-quarters of private clinics were failing to hit regulatory standards of care.

The briefing was based on inspections of 68 independent services providing residential detoxification services over the last two years.

The CQC required 49 providers (72 per cent) to make improvements because they had breached regulations of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and failed to meet fundamental standards of care.

It took enforcement action against eight providers. Forty-one providers breached two or more regulations and 25 breached three or more. more


Trust faces £48m repair bill for PFI hospital (HSJ: 29 November 2017)

A trust faces a £48m repair bill to make one of its hospitals safe because of loopholes in the drafting of its private finance initiative contract, Department of Health documents reveal.

Documents released to HSJ under the Freedom of Information Act show Lewisham and Greenwich Trust asked for money “essential to ensure patient safety” following power cuts, water shortages and more


Commissioners settle with Virgin following contract dispute (HSJ: 27 November 2017)

A legal dispute between Virgin Care and six Surrey clinical commissioning groups has been resolved – with an apparent payment by the NHS to the company.

The litigation – over a £82m procurement of children’s services across Surrey – was launched after the three year contract was awarded to Surrey Healthy Children and Families Services – an alliance between Surrey and Borders Partnership Foundation Trust and two local social enterprises.

Virgin Care Services started High Court proceedings against NHS England, Surrey County Council and the CCGs in November last year. It said there were “serious flaws in the procurement process” which had left it “so concerned” that it had launched the proceedings.

However, governing body papers for NHS Surrey Downs – one of the six CCGs involved - have revealed that its “liability” in the case is £328,000. The sum was published this month in a finance paper covering October on the CCG’s website. The paper was uploaded earlier this week but subsequently removed after HSJ started to enquire about the settlement. A CCG spokesperson said the reference had been removed because “the level of detail…should not have been included in the report.” more


Labour demands inquiry into delayed payments to trainee GPs (The Guardian: 3 November 2017)

Labour is demanding an inquiry into how trainee GPs did not receive their salaries from a private firm that is meant to pay them on behalf of the NHS.

Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, has urged Jeremy Hunt to act after the Guardian disclosed that the delays had led to some family doctors being unable to pay their mortgage and having to seek help from a charity.

The British Medical Association (BMA) believes hundreds of doctors in England have been left out of pocket as a result of the errors by Capita.

Labour wants the Department of Health (DH) to step in to cover monthly salary payments due to trainee GPs which they did not receive from Capita in order to prevent hardship.... read more


Third Cygnet hospital criticised by the CQC (HSJ: 31 October 2017)

A Cygnet hospital in Godden Green near Sevenoaks, Kent is an acute admissions ward run by NHS England. The CQC carried out an inspection in July 2017 due to concerns about care and treatment of young people.

After this visit, the CQC imposed restrictions on the provider’s registration, in which they could not admit any young person without prior agreement from the CQC. Within the last 2 weeks there has also been reports criticising mental health services provided by Cygnet in Woking and Sheffield. more


Exclusive: CCG resists Virgin Care demands for more money (HSJ: 23 October 2017)

Virgin Care has demanded more money for a controversial prime provider contract it signed with commissioners in Staffordshire last year, HSJ has learned.

East Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group has said it is “resisting” requests from the company for more money for the £270m prime provider contract.

Virgin is responsible for commissioning services for people with long term conditions

Both the CCG and Virgin Care have refused to confirm the amount being asked for, however, sources have told HSJ the private provider has asked for nearly £5m more 

Cygnet mental health hospital in Woking placed in special measures (Get Surrey: 16 October 2017)

A mental health hospital in Woking recorded 24 serious incidents a year including serious self harm a CQC inspection has found. There were several serious failings including, failure to protect young people from harm, poorly managed physical health conditions and insufficient experience and skill level among staff.

The hospital provides psychiatric intensive care for up to 11 young people aged 12-18 who have been detained under the mental health act. It also provides ‘low secure service for 28 adults also detained under the mental health more


Is the private healthcare market going into reverse? (The Telegraph: 1 October 2017)

Justin Ash, the incoming chief executive of private hospitals group Spire Healthcare, has his work cut out.

He takes the helm of the troubled FTSE 250 firm at the end of this month with its stock floundering at near record lows after diving 28pc as a result of a gloomy update in the middle of September.

Alongside half-year results the company said it had set aside £27m to compensate victims of jailed rogue breast surgeon Ian Paterson, while NHS referrals for procedures such as knee and hip replacements – a key source of revenue – were abruptly down. Full-year sales and profits forecasts were reined in.

Then The Sunday Telegraph revealed Spire was shelving plans for a £500m private hospital in London, in part due to a dip in health tourism, particularly from the Middle more


'Inadequate' private provider to hand back troubled contract early (HSJ, 21 September 2017)

A company operating one of the first integrated NHS 111 and GP out of hours services is to hand back the contract to the NHS.

Primecare was placed in special measures last month after its services in East Kent were rated inadequate by the Care Quality Commission – only seven months after it started full operations. Failings included not having enough staff to meet patient needs and not assessing risks to patients’ health.

A meeting of Kent County Council’s health overview and scrutiny committee yesterday was told the company planned to hand back the contract mid term. The contract was for three years, with an option to extend for another more


NHS 'leaking millions' in PFI contracts (BBC News: 30 August 2017)

The NHS is "leaking" money to private companies in contracts to build and run hospitals, a report says.

Under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), companies provide money for new hospitals and then charge annual fees.

The Centre for Health and the Public Interest (CHPI) publication - based on 107 PFI contracts in England - said such companies had made pre-tax profits of £831m in the past six years.

The Department of Health said less than 3% of the NHS budget was spent on PFI.

PFI has always provoked vigorous debate about whether the benefit is worth the long-term cost.

The CHPI argues the money made by private companies could have been spent on patients.

Colin Leys, one of the chairmen of the CHPI, said: "This report shows for the first time the huge amount of taxpayers' money which is leaking out of the NHS through the profits generated by PFI companies.

"Given the extreme austerity in the NHS, where patients are being denied treatment and waiting times for operations are rising, the government needs to take action to stop this leakage of taxpayer funds out of the NHS." more


Government accused of 'wasting millions of pounds' as it abandons sale of NHS staffing agency (The Independent: 7 September 2017)

Ministers have been accused of “wasting millions of pounds” after abandoning the controversial sale of an NHS staffing agency.

Public services union Unison protested that exploring the aborted privatisation of NHS Professionals had involved “filling the pockets of management consultants”, at a time of a recruitment crisis.

The Department of Health abandoned the sale on Thursday of the agency that supplies more than 90,000 doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers, after failing to receive any adequate bids.

The proposal had been strongly criticised because the use of NHS Professionals saves the NHS about £70m a year by supplying staff more cheaply than private sector more


Labour demands inquiry into privatisation of NHS-owned recruiter (The Guardian: 27 July 2017)

Labour is demanding an inquiry into the privatisation of a government-owned NHS recruitment firm that saves hospitals £70m a year.

NHS Professionals helps the health service in England tackle its staffing crisis by arranging for doctors and nurses on its books to cover potentially harmful gaps in rotas.

Labour has asked the National Audit Office to look into why Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, is selling a profitable and effective company his Department of Health owns. The firm should be kept in public hands and allowed to continue playing a key role in alleviating widespread NHS understaffing, the party says.... read more


GPs claim quarter of a million in missing payments from Capita and NHSE (Pulse: 7 July 2017)

GPs are seeking to claim a quarter of a million pounds in unpaid bills from NHS England, its support services provider Capita and other NHS organisations, after a GP pressure group enlisted debt collectors.

Pulse revealed last week that campaign group GP Survival was asking GPs and practices to come forward with details of missing payments since Capita was handed the Primary Care Support England contract.

GP Survival chair Dr Matt Mayer told Pulse that in less than a week he had been approached by 25 GPs or practices owed payments ‘approaching a quarter of a million’ more


DH spends £2m on stalled NHS Professionals sale (HSJ: 6 July 2017)

The Department of Health has spent nearly £2m on the stalled sale of a majority stake NHS Professionals, the health service’s in-house temporary staffing agency.

The DH has spent £1.9m since February 2015 on lawyers and consultancy firms while it investigates selling a majority share in the company.

Philip Dunne said NHS Professionals saved the NS £70m a year

NHS Professionals, which is wholly owned by the DH, was set up in 2010 and works with 55 NHS providers to supply temporary staff. Previously it was part of the more


Terrifyingly, the NHS is about to get some of its money from hedge funds – this will be quantum leap in privatisation (The Independent: 9 May 2017)

It is assumed that benefits will trickle down to patients, but this isn’t how hedge funds work. They are there to make a profit for investors 

Privatisation has long been held up as a panacea to the NHS’s problems. The first ‘PFI’ (Private Finance Initiative) schemes in the 90s were hailed as a possible solution to the NHS’s difficulties in funding large capital projects, like new hospital buildings, under the Major and Blair governments. Since then, it’s been estimated that taxpayers’ money will be used to pay more than five times over what those PFI assets are worth, at £57bn. Private money into the NHS meant public liability, many times over, for no private risk.

But far from taking the lesson that private money to fund the NHS causes it greater problems, the NHS leadership’s most recent move to meet its under-funding is to approach City hedge funds to borrow £10 billion. This marks a quantum leap in privatising our more


Private provider beats GP federation to NHS contract (HSJ: 18 April 2017)

Commissioners in north London have awarded an extended primary care services contract to a private provider over the GP federation that was already providing the service, HSJ has learned.

Camden Clinical Commissioning Group has appointed AT Medics, a private provider of primary care services, as its extended GP access provider following a procurement process. It is a GP led provider of various primary care services in London, including core GP services and urgent care.

This was despite a receiving bid from the Haverstock Healthcare, a GP federation operating in the borough, and which currently provides the service. It covers 200,000 patients across 26 GP practices in more


Virgin Care and CCG in dispute over changes to £270m contract (HSJ: 11 April 2017)

A Midlands clinical commissioning group is locked in a contract dispute with Virgin Care over a controversial “prime provider” contract awarded last year, HSJ has learned.

East Staffordshire CCG disagrees with “contractual claims” made by the independent provider to make changes to the £270m “prime provider” deal that began in May 2016.

Burton Hospitals FT is unable to sign a subcontract with Virgin while the dispute more


Flagship £690m cancer procurement abandoned over financial fears (HSJ: 10 April 2017)

A controversial tender for cancer services in Staffordshire worth £687m has been abandoned after a consortium led by a private provider failed to convince commissioners its offer was financially viable.

The tender process for the 10 year, prime provider contract has been running since 2013 and HSJ understands the procurement has cost the four Staffordshire CCGs more than £840,000.

Only one bidder, a consortium led by Interserve, remained in the running for the contract. The consortium also included University Hospitals North Midlands Trust and The Royal Wolverhampton Trust.

The decision by commissioners not to award the contract on financial grounds follows the collapse of the £800m UnitingCare Partnership contract, which was abandoned in December 2015 eight months after going live.

As a result, procurement of the Staffordshire cancer contract and a separate £535m end of life care contract were paused for several months while a review was carried out. The process resumed in more


CCG pays ambulance staff wages following private provider dispute (HSJ: 22 March 2017)

Commissioners in Sussex paid a total of £642,000 in wages to former NHS staff after their private company employer ceased trading, HSJ can reveal.

Alan Beasley, the chief finance officer for High Weald and Lewes Clinical Commissioning Group, said he would be “exploring all avenues” to recover the cash from Docklands Medical Services, which provided patient transport services in Sussex until it ceased trading last summer.

He insisted that the payment will not set a precedent for other private providers to expect a bail out.

The circumstances of the payment were “unique”, Mr Beasley told HSJ. “We are not setting a precedent in terms of other private sector contracts that we might have. Those were ex gratia payments, not contractual payments.”

The 71 former South East Coast Ambulance Service Foundation Trust workers at the centre of the dispute twice lost their jobs when two private patient transport companies – VM Langfords and Docklands Medical Services – ceased trading in rapid succession last more


Deer Park Medical Centre: Campaigners to fight on after closure (BBC: 24 March 2017)

Campaigners have said they will fight to reopen an Oxfordshire doctor's surgery forced to close.

Witney's Deer Park practice will close later, leaving 4,000 people to look for new doctors. Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group said it had not found a new provider to run the practice after its contract with Virgin Care ended.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt ruled it would not be safe to keep it open with no provider in place.

Campaigner Yvonne De Burgo said: "We intend to fight on, to get it back open and running as good as it was before, either with Virgin Care or not."


Circle contract win means trust 'risks going in special measures' (HSJ: 14 March 2017)

A struggling NHS trust could lose up to £6.6m of income and risk being put into financial special measures after losing a £73m contract, a report has found.

Lewisham and Greenwich Trust stands to lose up to £6.6m of revenue over five years unless Circle Health, the winner of a musculoskeletal contract for Greenwich, contracts it to deliver community based services and “other orthopaedic activity”, the PwC report said.

Loss of activity would make Queen Elizabeth Hospital ‘the smallest site delivering both trauma and orthopaedic services in the country’ more


Virgin Care starts legal proceedings against NHS (HSJ: 13 March 2017)

A private provider has launched legal proceedings against eight NHS commissioners after losing a bid for a £82m children’s community services contract.

Virgin Care Services Limited issued court proceedings in the High Court against NHS England, Surrey County Council and the county’s six clinical commissioning groups one month after commissioners awarded the three year contract to Surrey Healthy Children and Families Services Limited Liability Partnership.

The winning bidder is an alliance between Surrey and Borders Partnership Foundation Trust and two social enterprises, CSH Surrey and First Community Health.

A spokesman for Virgin Care Services told HSJ that concerns about “serious flaws in the procurement process” prompted the company to launch more


Archive of 2013-2016 articles available here

see also: 






 In-depth articles on Market Failure

Going for gold: The redistributive agenda behind market-based health care reform - Professor Robert Evans

Market Failure Alive and Well in the English NHS -  Clive Peedell, Member of BMA Council, BMA Political Board

Market Failure in Healthcare Part 1: Market Failure in Theory - Bevans Run

Market Failure in Healthcare Part 2: Market Failure in Practice - Bevans Run

Lessons need to be learnt for the NHS from failure of competition in imperfect markets - Socialist Health association

Can market forces makethe NHS more efficient?  SHA conference 30.11.10   Wendy Savage MBBCh FRCOG  MSc (Public Health) Hon DSc   Co-Chair Keep Our NHS Public


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