NHS England announces decision to launch procurement process for Primary Care Support Services
NHS England has announced the decision to launch an open public procurement process for primary care support services (PCS).
Since April 2013, NHS England’s PCS Transformation Programme has worked with staff to define a nationally-specified service to ensure quality and consistency, and reduce existing variation in the level, type and cost of service.
After extensive work and significant engagement with staff and their representatives, the programme presented three options to the NHS England Board on 15 May:
Full market testing with an open public procurement
An in-house option in those areas where outsourcing is not currently in place
An option to outsource all services to SSCL, a joint venture between the Cabinet Office and Steria.
To ensure the best deal for primary care and the taxpayer, NHS England has decided an open procurement process is the preferred option.
Karen Wheeler said:
"NHS England is committed to cutting administrative costs for all services, and these changes will benefit patients and the taxpayer by freeing up more money for care.
"We have a skilled and committed set of staff delivering these services already and have put considerable effort into designing a viable in-house solution. Unfortunately, it has not been possible to design a solution which made the required level of efficiencies. We know this is a difficult time for PCS staff and we are committed to ensuring that any transfer process for relevant staff is a smooth as possible.”
NHS England recognises the professionalism and commitment of PCS staff, who have inevitably had had to deal with uncertainty while plans for change have been discussed and developed over the past year.
Further details of the procurement process are in development. In the meantime the services will continue to be run by NHS England.