NHS England has set a new target for setting up “provider collaboratives” and invited providers to take on specialised commissioning powers across the country. This is a major expansion of its mental health new care models programme.
The plan is to have a lead provider which will coordinate services. There will be substantial input from private organisation which are major providers on impatient mental health and learning disabilities beds.
Barbara Keeley, Labour’s shadow Cabinet minister for mental health and social care, has said:
“We have seen too many examples of private providers cutting corners, and not giving service users the support that they need. There is a real danger that any greater involvement for private providers means that a focus on the person using services is lost.”
“It is not acceptable for private hospitals to be involved in commissioning decisions for services for which they are bidding. Ministers must explain how they will avoid conflicts of interest in this new system.”