COMMERCIAL: The Independent Reconfiguration Panel has dismissed a complaint about NHS Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset’s handling of the any qualified provider process. However, providers remain concerned about the pricing of dermatology services.

The row began when chief executives from the three acute foundation trusts in the cluster area wrote to Poole Borough Council’s health overview and scrutiny committee in March expressing concern that plans to open up dermatology and endoscopy to AQP amounted to a “significant change” in service provision.

HSJ understands concerns related to a lack of adequate consultation and the setting of prices for services under AQP outside of the national tariff.

On endoscopy there were also concerns about what would happen when a patient who had an endoscopy under an independent provider required a multi-disciplinary team review.

The committee called in the decision and referred it to the health secretary. However, the Independent Reconfiguration Panel rejected the argument that the move amounted to a significant service change, concluding the primary care trust had acted in line with DH policy.

Issues around the pricing of endoscopy have now been resolved but HSJ has been told concerns remain about dermatology.

A spokeswoman for the cluster said: “We are not in a position to award any contracts [for AQP] until we have met again with the Borough of Poole to resolve any outstanding issues. We anticipate these will be addressed over the next two weeks.”