Hospital Dr News

CCG competitive tender rules are rewritten

The government has quickly redrafted its controversial NHS competition rules and CCGs no longer have to competitively tender services under certain circumstances.

The redraft says CCGs will be able to exempt themselves from putting services out to competition if they can demonstrate that it will undermine integration. If, however, the CCG fails to demonstrate that the service can only be provided by a ‘single provider’, they will still be forced to put it out to competitive tender.

The government agreed to withdraw and re-write controversial ’section 75′ proposals on contracting out in the NHS in England. The regulations were published in February to provide guidance on how NHS reform – particularly on procurement – should be implemented.

But critics argued they would open up too many services to competition from private companies and could disrupt services for patients.

The government removed a provision that stated that ‘technical reasons’ and matters of ‘extreme urgency’ were the only exemptions to putting a service out to competitive tender.

The rewrite, prompted after a backlash from doctors’ leaders and campaigners, has been cautiously welcomed by the BMA.

Dr Mark Porter, chair of BMA Council, said: “We are pleased that the government has listened to the concerns of the BMA and others. The redrafted regulations, if supported by clear guidance, should provide greater clarity on the commissioning process.

“However, we remain concerned about the overall direction of travel for the NHS. It is vital that competition is not allowed to undermine integration, innovation, or clinical autonomy. There still needs to be a full parliamentary debate, to provide absolute clarity that CCGs will have the freedom to decide how best to secure high quality services for local populations.”

Read the revised regulations.

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One Response to “CCG competitive tender rules are rewritten”

  1. Malcolm Morrison says:

    Glad to see that they have seen sense – and appear to have LISTENED to doctors, for a change!

    GOOD care of patients demands co-operation – between different departments within the hospital, between hospitals and GPs, and between the NHS and Social Services. The latter causes most problems because they come out of different budgets; and the Social Services seem to work at a somewhat slower pace than the ‘acute sector’ of the NHS – hence the ‘bed-blockers’.

    There may be a place for SOME competition in health care; but it must be FAIR (on a ‘level playing field’). Thus if a ‘private’ provider is to provide a limited service; their ‘costing’ (price) must be compared with the NHS need to provide the ‘extras’ of training, emergencies and ‘complex cases’

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