A complaint has been made to the Co-operation and Competition Panel (CCP) by Midlands Psychology (MP), alleging that South Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust (SSSFT) has acted inconsistently with the Principles and Rules for Co-operation and Competition (PRCC). This is the first time that a conduct complaint to the CCP has related to the conduct of a provider, rather than that of a commissioner.

MP alleges that SSSFT has breached principle five of the PRCC by restricting choice of provider, which has an adverse effect on patients, taxpayers and the business of MP. The complaint relates to SSSFT’s conduct following the award of a contract by South Staffordshire PCT to MP for the provision for Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) services. The ASD services were previously provided by SSSFT.

Broadly, the allegations by MP include that SSSFT:

  • obstructed the transfer of the services to MP after the award of the contract;
  • obstructed the ability of MP to provide the services;
  • is putting patients and MP staff at risk by not providing certain information about the services, patients and staff to MP; and
  • sought to restrict choice of provider by trying to retain some of the services after the contract was awarded to MP.

The CCP’s assessment will consider whether the conduct in question is consistent with the PRCC, including whether the alleged conduct is likely to have an adverse effect on patients or tax payers. An initial decision is due in mid April 2011, although if the CCP opts for a detailed investigation, a final decision will not be due until mid August 2011.