NHS trust blocks bidders

8 December 2009

8 December 2009 | Jake Kanter

An NHS primary care trust (PCT) is to bar private and third sector suppliers from bidding for a community services contract.

It is among the first of many expected to take a similar stance following a change in policy by the Department of Health (DH), which issued guidance in October that said the NHS should become the “preferred provider”. The DH said this approach was about getting the “best care for patients and looking after the NHS staff who care for them”.

In a letter to potential bidders seen by SM, NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney (GYW) said it would put the deal out to tender only for public sector health suppliers.

“In the light of the guidance provided to the PCT, the PCT plans to proceed with the procurement process as planned, but limiting the pool of potential bidders to NHS organisations,” wrote Sushil Jathanna, chief executive of GYW.

NHS organisations can collaborate with independent or third sector providers but with the NHS body taking the prime role.

Jathanna said the trust’s decision was taken after consultation with the DH and Strategic Health Authority. GYW will meet potential bidders tomorrow to confirm the revised process, outline potential for partnering and provide more information on the contract.

In a statement to SM, Jathanna said: “Our priority has always been to make sure that the services we commission provide the best possible care for our patients.

“We will be inviting tenders from fellow NHS organisations, who we will then encourage to work in closer partnership with the voluntary and independent sectors. This process will encourage competition to help drive up quality within the NHS.”

Stephen Dunn, director of strategy for NHS East of England, added that the decision was “bold”, but would help “transform community services for the benefit of patients, the public and taxpayers”.

Great Yarmouth and Waveney Community Services is the incumbent supplier, providing services including language therapy, district nursing and physiotherapy. GYW hopes to have a new provider in place by the middle of next year.

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