NHS project stalls

12 February 2008
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12 February 2008

Procurement and commissioning for the government's independent sector treatment centres (ISTCs) is "flawed" according to the CBI.

The report published yesterday said the procurement process was "beset with delays and uncertainties." In some cases suppliers of surgical and diagnostic services waited three years between submitting bids and receiving a decision.

The ISTCs, which began in 2003, provide routine operations for patients.

The report recommended that the NHS create a "level playing field" for suppliers and act in the interest of patients to secure the right services. It said this could be achieved by making the procurement process transparent and opening up the competition among suppliers.

Richard Lambert, director general at the CBI, said in the report: "There is more we [the CBI] think the Department of Health, the NHS and ISTC providers must do to address some of the fundamental blocks that are preventing the full potential of this programme, such as improving procurement."

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said the organisation will introduce a competitive bidding ground for suppliers and establish an independent sector forum to advise on procurement at a local level.


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