Rotherham CCG bucked the trend to put all new contracts out to competitive tender when it decided earlier this month that it would not put out to tender seven community service contracts (CSCs). The CSCs included an anticoagulation service, an aural care service and a blood-monitoring service. Instead, the CCG awarded the CSCs to local GP practices. The CCG argued that competition was not needed as only local practices could guarantee the safety and quality of their services.
The so called "section 75 regulations" (the National Health Service (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No 2) Regulations 2013) require CCGs to commission services in a transparent and proportionate way, and to treat providers equally and in a non-discriminatory way. However, under the regulations CCG's need not run a competition where the CCG "is satisfied that the services to which the contract relates are capable of being provided only by that provider". Clearly the CCG is satisfied that this is the case. It will be interesting to see if there are any challenges to this decision from potential providers who did not get the opportunity to bid for these CSCs.