Legislators in Manchester have begun to seek providers for “out of hospital” health and care services across the city.
The contract for this tender will be worth in the region of £6 billion; the largest ever figure for an arrangement of its type in the NHS.
Published by NHS Shared Business Services, the contract intends to create a local care organisation that will provide all non-acute services, including social care, across the significant northern urban area.
Once created, the new organisation will deliver services for 600,000 residents of Manchester over a 10-year period.
Manchester Health and Care Commissioning is involved in the letting of the contract, with the group having been informed via a collaboration between the city council and a single clinical commissioning group specially formed for this new arrangement.
The notice calls for expressions of interest by the end of April, and explains that an integrated approach to care will be at the centre of the tendering process.
“Commissioners seek responses from interested providers who wish to deliver…a local care organisation for the population of Manchester with the aim of bringing together a range of health, social care and public health services to be delivered in the community.”
And the document goes on to explain the ethos of the new arrangement, and the vast amount of money being invested in this contract.
“The LCO is envisaged [to have] an emphasis upon: local population health and prevention of ill health; connecting to community assets and building upon people’s strengths and self-management skills; and targeted care support people’s needs particularly as needs change and become more complex. The estimated total contract value for the 10 year contract term is £5.9bn.”
Primary care, mental health and social care services will be incorporated in the model of care envisaged by the new Manchester initiative.
While the £6 billion tender is unique in NHS history, other similar contracts are already being sought by local NHS commissioners.
In particular, another £2 billion deal in Dudley is also in the early stages of being drawn up.
An £800 million contract was involved in a previous UnitingCare Partnership project, while £1 billion was set aside for the franchising of Hinchingbrooke Health Care Trust.
However, both of these deals collapsed, which undoubtedly places pressure on the huge Manchester project.
Nonetheless, a joint statement by Manchester’s NHS and social care commissioners welcomes the new arrangement and its potential benefits for people in the area.
“The LCO will… not only improve health outcomes and support people to live independent lives, but also gives us a way of addressing some of the financial pressures we face. The emphasis [of the LCO] will be on combining the full range of out of hospital services (including community health, social care, primary care, mental health and voluntary sector services) and uniting their efforts as a single service.”
The statement also emphasised that accessibility will be central to the £6 billion tender.
“Our intention is to bring the complex range of services together in a way that makes them more accessible and easier to navigate. This integration is a strong part of Greater Manchester’s pioneering devolution arrangements.”