NHS Improvement has said it could terminate the planned takeover of Liverpool’s community services by Bridgewater Community Healthcare Foundation Trust, and will consider if “a more beneficial transaction” could happen.

Earlier this month, NHS Improvement said it was “pausing” the takeover after the Care Quality Commission raised concerns about Bridgewater, which was previously chosen as the preferred provider.

In a document shared with staff and seen by HSJ, the regulator set out how it intends to review the transaction, and will make one of the following recommendations:

  • continue with the transaction;
  • continue to pause the transaction to undertake further work; or
  • terminate the transaction and consider a plan B.

However, Bridgewater chief executive Colin Scales has previously pointed out that the trust’s draft CQC report “was known and shared during the transaction process”. The transfer has been led by NHSI, which has faced repeated calls from West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper to restart the process.

According to the document, Miranda Carter, NHSI’s executive director of provider appraisal, will assess the impact of the CQC’s requires improvement rating for Bridgewater, including the “financial impact, risks and mitigations of the CQC report and subsequent actions taken or to be taken”.

Meanwhile, Andrew Morgan, an NHSI senior delivery and improvement lead for Yorkshire and Humber, will “undertake an options appraisal to establish whether or not a more beneficial transaction or management approach for patients could be realised”.

This will re-examine options previously assessed as well as “explore new and/or novel ideas and compare them against the Bridgewater proposal as currently understood”, the document said.

Bridgewater was selected as preferred provider of the contract in November, amid concerns over the funding envelope offered by Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group.

The services are currently run by Liverpool Community Health Trust, which is being disbanded after serious care and governance failings were exposed.