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External review into handling of contract for autism services

A contract for the care of children with autism is to be the subject of an independent review triggered by NHS England. The review will examine the oversight and management by local commissioners, according to the HSJ.

The three CCGs involved – Cannock Chase, Stafford and Surrounds, and South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula — will face external scrutiny into how the CCGs monitored the contract with the two providers.

Back in 2016 the CCGs acknowledged that the service was “not fit for purpose”, revealed by HSJ. A review in 2018 found children in crisis were not getting specialist help and were repeatedly passed between different services, with the two providers involved — Midlands Psychology, a social enterprise, and South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare Foundation Trust (now named Midlands Partnership FT) — arguing over which was responsible for the children.

Midlands Psychology was contracted to carry out autism assessments, but there was a lack of clarity around which organisation was responsible for post-diagnosis support. The findings of the 2018 review have been disputed by Midlands Psychology.

Full story in the HSJ, 4 March 2020

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