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An NHS contract to outsource care of older and mentally ill people collapsed after just eight months [Image: Getty].

An NHS contract to outsource care of older and mentally ill people collapsed after just eight months [Image: Getty].


This is where our money is going.

Because the Conservatives are keen to give public money to private enterprise, two NHS trusts banded together to become a service provider for older people and those who were mentally ill – and failed.

That means they were being paid our money for a service they couldn’t provide – so the people who needed the service didn’t get it.

They still need the service but the money has gone.

And now a Conservative MP has proposed charging people for NHS services.

No.

This fiasco happened because the Conservatives created a false need to pay private firms for services.

The answer is not to introduce more commercialism into the NHS, but to strip it out completely.

Private firms should be banned from competing for NHS contracts, and the service should return to being run on sound principles of financial competence.

That is the lesson.

But Tories won’t learn from it, because they are wedded to an outdated, market-driven philosophy that simply isn’t relevant to a service like the NHS.

A “catalogue of failures” resulted in the collapse of an £800 million NHS contract to outsource care of older and mentally ill people, the Commons spending watchdog warned.

An influential committee of MPs concluded that the NHS lacked expertise in procurement and it was “worrying” that untested contracting arrangements could form part of the plans being drawn up for further changes to services across England.

The Public Accounts Committee was scathing about the doomed deal between Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and UnitingCare Partnership, which collapsed after just eight months.

The cash-strapped CCG awarded a five-year contract to UnitingCare, an NHS consortium of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, but the deal was scrapped in December 2015 after it ran into difficulties.

The MPs said: “The procurement exercise was undermined from the start by poor commercial expertise, a lack of realistic pricing, and weak oversight.

“The CCG accepted the lowest bid on the table, without seeking proper assurance that the two trusts, which had combined to form the UnitingCare Partnership, could deliver for that price.

“It was then grossly irresponsible of the trusts and the CCG to rush ahead with the contract without having resolved significant differences in their understanding of the contract price or indeed the scope of services that were included in that price.”

Source: NHS outsourcing contract collapses due to ‘catalogue of failures’ | The Independent

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