Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Foundation Trust has still not agreed contractual arrangements with its new commissioner for older people’s services, despite the NHS owned organisation taking charge of services this month.

  • Peterborough and its new commissioner have still not agreed contractual terms despite the new NHS owned organisation taking over older people’s services on 1 April
  • A board paper outlines a series of disagreements between the trust and newly formed UnitingCare Partnership
  • The new organisation is overseeing commissioning older people’s services across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

Peterborough and Stamford’s March finance paper outlined a series of disagreements between the trust and newly formed UnitingCare Partnership, the joint venture set up to be the prime provider for an £800m integrated older people’s services contract.

The FT told HSJ on Tuesday that “the current contract proposals have not been accepted” and confirmed negotiations were still on going. UnitingCare said it hoped to finalise arrangements “this week”.

The trust’s report detailed the contentious points:

  • UnitingCare wants to commission services from the trust on a block contract basis for a five year period. The trust said it “would only commission on a [payment by results] basis and this would be on a one year contract”.
  • UnitingCare proposed a capped, risk based, payment by results contract. “Clarity on the terms and conditions of this contract have yet to be clarified fully by UnitingCare, but…we have concluded this capped risk based [payment by results] contract pushes the risk disproportionally to the trust,” the paper said.
  • The joint venture’s quality innovation productivity and prevention plans suggest significant reductions in non-elective growth, the report said. The trust said the quality, innovation, productivity and prevention plans were “very ambitious and unlikely to materialise”.
  • The report said: “Simple matters such as which services are now transferred from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group to UnitingCare have complicated the establishment of the baseline activity.”

UnitingCare is a limited liability company jointly owned by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and Cambridge University Hospitals FTs.


The FT said the QIPP plans were ‘very ambitious and unlikely to materialise’

It took over older people’s services across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough this month after the two trusts’ bid was successful following a protracted tender process in which a number of NHS and private providers submitted bids last year.

A Peterborough and Stamford spokeswoman told HSJ on Tuesday that the trust was “holding ongoing negotiations with commissioners including UnitingCare Partnership and [the CCG]”.

She added: “The current contract proposals have not been accepted by the trust and a further update will be available at the trust public board meeting on Tuesday 28 April.”

UnitingCare chief executive Keith Spencer told HSJ: “We have had really positive contract discussions with all our providers [but] UnitingCare is implementing a radically different model which requires providers to work in a very different kind of way under a new outcomes based contract.

“In those circumstances it should not come as a surprise that contract discussions will, at times, be challenging.”

He added the organisation had reached agreement with nine out of its 11 core subcontractors. 

He said Peterborough and Stamford, and Hinchingbrooke Health Care Trust were the only two major subcontractors left to seal contract deals with.

UnitingCare had planned to reach agreements with the trusts by the end of 24 April. However, a spokeswoman for the organisation today (27 April) confirmed that contracts with the two trusts remained unsigned. She did not give a revised date by which UnitingCare was aiming to reach agreement with the trusts.

This story was updated at 4.15pm on Monday 27 April, following confirmation from UnitingCare that it had not achieved its plan to reach agreement with all outstanding contractors by the end of the previous week.