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Regulator scrutinises CCG selection process and pricing arrangements in London

Concerns raised about whether process was carried out ‘in best interests of patients’

Caroline White

Friday, 31 July 2015

The health services regulator Monitor has launched an investigation into whether the selection process for a healthcare provider of planned care services in North East London was in the best interests of patients.

The investigation follows a complaint lodged by Care UK Clinical Services Ltd about how Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge, Havering, and Waltham Forest CCGs went about selecting Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust to run the North East London NHS Treatment Centre.

The centre provides a range of planned care services, including general surgery, ophthalmology, and ENT.

Care UK has also raised objections to the proposed pricing arrangements for these services, marking the first time that the regulator has looked at both competition and pricing elements in one of its investigations.

Monitor has said that it will investigate whether the selection process was in the best interests of patients, in line with NHS rules on procurement, choice, and competition, and whether the regulations governing price setting for certain NHS services were followed.

Catherine Davies, Executive Director of Co-operation and Competition at Monitor, said: This complaint raises important questions for patients about how elective services are commissioned and paid for.”

But she emphasised that the investigation was still at an early stage, with more information needed from each of the organisations involved. “We have not yet reached a view as to whether there has been any breach of the rules,” she said.

The regulator is also investigating Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust over finances and its handling of the introduction of a new ‘e-hospital’ IT system as this may indicate wider issues about the running of the trust, it says.

Monitor took separate regulatory action at the trust in 2013 over concerns about finances and the way it was run. This action ended in July last year after improvements were made.

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