The Cooperation and Competition Panel (CCP) recently published its report into conduct and procurement complaints made by two associations of care providers challenging exercises to procure NHS continuing healthcare services. The Lancashire Care Association complained about a commissioning exercise conducted on behalf of PCTs in North West England and the Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire Care Associations challenged commissioning arrangements in the East Midlands.
In both cases the associations submitted that the commissioners had acted inconsistently with the principles and rules for procuring NHS services, alleging that the processes were neither transparent nor non-discriminatory and that the prices set were unfair.
There were several elements in each of the two complaints brought by the care associations, and the CCP’s reports, which can be accessed here and here, provide a detailed summary of the processes followed by the commissioners and the challenges made by the associations. After carefully considering the cases, the CCP declared that the processes adopted by both sets of commissioners were transparent and non-discriminatory, and so rejected the complaints.
Clearly the aim of these procurement exercises was to secure control over expenditure on continuing healthcare (CHC) provision. CHC already accounts for significant sums of expenditure and, as the CCP’s reports stated, research indicates that demand for CHC will increase over the coming years, meaning that effective procurement will be essential to control costs. PCTs seeking to review their CHC commissioning arrangements will want to carefully consider the CCP’s reports on these cases.