Two commissioning support units face a shaky future after missing the cut for NHS England’s lead provider framework.
North West CSU and Yorkshire and Humber CSU were both unsuccessful in their bids to provide full “end to end” support to clinical commissioning groups on lot one of the framework.
All nine commissioning support unit alliances initially made it to the final stage of assessment for the framework, which is worth between £3 billion and £5 billion and will allow CCGs to purchase services on a ‘call-off’ basis.
The final providers were selected after a two-month assessment by a panel of over 30 representatives from CCGs, NHS England’s area teams, NHS Improving Quality, NHS Right Care, and other experts.
Optum and MBED (a consortium consisting of Mouchel, BDO, Engine and Dr Foster) joined the seven remaining CSUs in providing full support on the framework.
North West CSU covers 24 CCGs, serving a population of 5.2 million across Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire.
Yorkshire and Humber CSU was formed after a merger between West and South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw CSU and North Yorkshire and Humber CSU to create a £90 million business providing commissioning and business support for 23 CCGs and 80 other customers.
While North West and Yorkshire and Humber both won places on the second part of lot two of the framework, to provide services supporting continuing healthcare and individual funding requests, it is believed that that will not be enough to guarantee either CSU’s future.
Bob Ricketts, NHS England’s director of commissioning support services said: he is “delighted” about the range of providers that have made it onto the framework.
“I genuinely believe that these organisations have brought together the best services in the market to offer commissioners everything they need to deliver the vision of the ‘Five Year Forward View’ [NHS England’s planning strategy].”
Rickett said the framework will provide commissioners with a faster and simplified approach to choosing and changing commissioning support providers, cutting a typical procurement process to three months.
NHS England is encouraging CCGs to use the framework to re-procure their current agreements with CSUs, many of which need to be openly tendered before they expire in April 2016.
The organisation said it is providing free procurement and legal support to reduce the burden on CCGs, making it easier and quicker for them while helping them to get the best value for money from bidders using the volume-based discounts on offer.