NHS watchdog Monitor has confirmed its investigation into the tender of adult care services by a clinical commissioning group (CCG) in Devon, found the CCG did not breach procurement guidelines.
Monitor started its investigation into the commissioning of community services for adults with complex care needs in eastern Devon by NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG) in January after a complaint from Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, which has the current contract for the services, about the fairness and adequacy of the process.
Following preliminary findings outlined in June, Monitor’s final report said it found no breach of the Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition Regulations.
However, it has concluded that NEW Devon CCG is not yet in a position to enter into a contract with Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, its preferred provider.
In the final report, Monitor said NEW Devon CCG must first determine the scope and pricing arrangements of the proposed contract, evaluate value for money, satisfy itself, and be able to satisfy the public that the contract would be the best way to secure the needs of patients, improve the quality and efficiency of the services and provide best value for money.
Patients with complex care needs have one or more long-term conditions, frailty or disability. Community services are provided outside acute hospitals in people’s homes, community clinics and community hospitals, and are usually not provided by general practitioners or consultants. The three-year contract is estimated to be worth £50 million per year.
The investigation examined the process and criteria adopted by NEW Devon CCG for assessing prospective providers in respect of criteria including being able to determine value for money, equal treatment and non-discrimination, transparency and conflict of interest.
Monitor concluded that “at this stage, NEW Devon CCG has not breached Regulation 3(3) by failing to procure services from the provider or providers most capable of delivering the commissioner’s objective referred to in Regulation 2 in relation to the services and provide the best value for money in doing so”.
The report also said that before awarding the contract, “the CCG will need to understand the scope of services to be provided, how they will be delivered, and how much it will cost to deliver these services”.