Major contract awarded to private provider to run 200 NHS and social care services

The contract was awarded from 1 April 2017 by Bath and North East Somerset CCG and Bath and North East Somerset council. The contract is worth £70m per year for seven years with the option of extending for a further three years.

The other contract which many will use to compare with this new contract awarded was the failed Uniting Care contract. In that contract it has been accepted by all parties to the tendering process and specifically to the contract that all were overly optimistic when, amongst other things, it was agreed that up to 15% of its payments would be outcomes focussed. Another reason for the collapse of this contract was the deep savings and miscalculations which contributed to its downfall which appears in hindsight to have been destined for failure as evidenced in a review commissioned by NHS England.

Some have stated that contracts such as these which are so wide-ranging mark the beginning of the privatisation of the NHS.  To think of this in such binary terms fails to properly consider the complexity of the operation of the NHS and social care more widely. Without having access to the detail contained within the contract it is difficult to comment in great detail but it is hoped that this contract bears fruit and concerns about the motives of private organisations are ill-founded.  The performance of this contract should be closely monitored by the relevant CCG and regulators to ensure its success.

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