A five-year NHS outsourcing contract worth in excess of £800 million was ended after only eight months owing to problems with the company involved.
UnitingCare won a competitive tender to run the contract to supply older people and adult community healthcare in Cambridgeshire.
The contract began on first April, but has been terminated in the last few days owing to the poor financial performance of the company.
Jo Rust from the union Unison commented that “it’s evident that they can’t make financial cost savings” that were promised when the contract began.
Patients in Cambridgeshire have already been informed that promised services will be disrupted.
The institution is part of Cambridge University Hospitals, which runs Addenbrooke’s and Rosie hospitals.
With the Cambridge University Hospitals Experiencing problems as a result of the termination of the contract, alternative arrangements have been made.
Older people’s services have been transferred back to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group.
Commenting on the problems, Dr Neil Modha, the chief clinical officer of Cambridge University Hospital stated that “both parties” had decided to end the contract because “the current arrangement is no longer financially sustainable”.
Modha added that “we all wish to keep this model of integrated service delivery” and “services will continue and not be disrupted”.
Considering this potentially embarrassing situation it is perhaps unsurprising that UnitingCare has remained quiet about the issue.
The organisation affected is a consortium of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) with Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
When the contract was signed back in April, it represented the end of a lengthy and stringent procurement process, which involved three organisations being shortlisted.
It was hoped that the new £800 million agreement would lead to an improvement in patient care in Cambridgeshire.
With the contract responsible for urgent care for adults age 65 and over, including inpatients and accident and emergency services, there’s no doubt that this was a significant contract, and its cessation is a blow to the Cambridge region.
Following the decision to end this contract, campaigners have opposed the transfer of NHS services to a private company.
It has been noted that the commissioning of the partnership in the first place cost over £1 million, with the tender process central to this expenditure.
After the cancellation of the contract, it is now hard for even the most adamant defender of the arrangement to deem it anything other than a waste of money.
The long-term plans for the Cambridgeshire region with regard to replacing these services has yet to be announced.