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Warning NHS could lose out as community contracts awarded

By WMNlynbarton  |  Posted: August 25, 2014

The NHS could lose out as community contracts are awarded in Devon, it is feared.

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A plan by the group which holds the purse strings for healthcare in Devon has run into controversy amid fears the NHS will lose out as large scale contracts could be awarded without going out to tender.

Northern Easter and Western Devon Clinical Commission Group (NEW Devon CCG) is currently in the process of deciding who will provide community services, such as rehabilitation care and district nursing.

However among the proposals are that existing provider, private company Plymouth Community Healthcare, retains their existing remit in the city and takes over services for South Hams and West Devon from an NHS provider.

Meanwhile, the CCG wants to hand over community services in the north of the county to Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, which wold take them away from Northern Devon Healthcare Trust.

A consultation on the subject has resulted in 260 replies, although a spokesman for NEW Devon CCG said no decisions had yet been taken.

Commissioners are not obliged to go out to tender, but providers have legal recourse if they feel procurement rules have been breached.

A spokesman for Northern Devon Healthcare said it was “wholly supportive” of NEW Devon CCG’s strategy to provide more care closer to home.

He added: “We also feel that we have delivered significant transformation of the community services in Eastern Devon since they transferred to us in 2011, and would like to earn the right to continue delivering those services.

“We continue to discuss the strategy and procurement options for community services with the leaders of the CCG and await their decision in October 2014.”

Meanwhile, at Devon County Council, a spokesman said that the CCG had been asked to “reflect” on aspects of their proposals.

He said: “Devon County Council and NEW Devon CCG share the same vision and view on the integration of community services and are working in close partnership in pursuit of that.

“We have asked the CCG to reflect on an element of their proposal, but we’re confident that questions we have at this stage are resolvable, and that the outcome will be the very best for people who use the community services.”

A spokesman for NEW Devon CCG said the updated strategic framework would be presented to the CCG’s governing body on September 4 in the public section of the meeting.

“The three localities will then develop their proposals in response to the framework and they will be published on 17 September which will be followed by a 12 week period of stakeholder engagement.”

He added: “In relation to the procurement aspect, no decision has been made on this yet.”

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