Last month this blog highlighted the likelihood of further complaints to Monitor regarding commissioning under the new NHS competition rules. As predicted, there has now been a third complaint. Last week saw Monitor open up an a third investigation following a complaint by Spire Healthcare Limited that two CCGs (Blackpool CCG and Fylde & Wyre CCG) are breaching their regulatory obligations in relation to the commissioning of elective care. In particular, the complaint alleges that the two CCGs have sought to direct patients requiring elective care away from the private hospital to the NHS hospital.
Monitor will now gather and review information from Spire, Blackpool CCG, Fylde and Wyre CCG and other relevant organisations before deciding how to proceed. Catherine Davies, Executive Director of Co-operation and Competition at Monitor said:
"Following a complaint by Spire Healthcare Limited we are investigating the allegations that patients have been directed away from Spire Fylde Coast Hospital and towards Blackpool Victoria Hospital. Spire believes this is not what is best for patients. The investigation is at an early stage and Monitor has not yet reached a view as to whether there has been any breach of the rules. We are now seeking further information from the organisations involved. If we find that a breach has occurred we will investigate whether patient interests have been negatively affected by these decisions."