HSJ’s must read stories and talking points

Manchester commissions Manchester

A single bid was received for the enormous contract let earlier this year to provide integrated out of hospital services across the city of Manchester. And, we revealed on Friday, the winner is… (drum roll…) all the existing NHS and public sector providers.

The contract is for “out of hospital” health and care services across the city of Manchester.

Manchester Health and Care Commissioning has received a single bid from the Manchester Provider Board, which is a consortium made up of Manchester City Council, local GP federations, the city’s three acute trusts, community service providers and Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust.

A tender was launched on 10 March for a 10 year contract worth £5.9bn as part of plans to set up a “local care organisation” to provide all non-acute services across Manchester.

A letter sent by Ian Williamson, chief accountable officer of Manchester Health and Care Commissioning, said it aimed to award the contract by early 2018 following an evaluation of the Manchester Provider Board’s final proposal.

Dirty work at the crossroads

The regime governing how additional funding is allocated to NHS trusts has been described as “economic lunacy and grossly unfair” by a widely respected former regulator and trust chair.

Sir Peter Dixon – former chair of University College Hospitals London FT, several turnaround trusts, and other things – also warned that rules around the extra funding have encouraged “dishonesty” and “bullying”, which he said is now “as bad as I’ve ever known”.

It puts a bit of a spotlight on the unofficial but very comprehensive NHS financial regime which regulators – with the government – have constructed over the top of the actual rules in recent years.

Deploying a particularly joyous turn of phrase, Sir Peter said “If trusts are hitting their control totals because they’ve done prudent things and made genuine efficiencies then that’s justified, but if you’re suddenly pulling a rabbit out a hat in quarter four when your board reports throughout the year have suggested a big overspend, then it’s usually dirty work at the crossroads.”

Those with a memory will recall Sir Peter has a record of sticking it to the man, having in 2009 – while he was at UCLH – caused something of a stir by declaring there was a “Stalinist culture among SHAs”.