The must read stories and talking points from HSJ

See you in court

A struggling foundation trust is taking its fight to retain a £30m community services contract to the High Court after losing out to a rival bidder.

Disgruntled Humber Foundation Trust has asked the High Court to halt East Riding of Yorkshire CCG’s procurement process and investigate the criteria used to award the five-year contract.

Humber said it had put in a “very good and solid” bid, but was unfortunately pipped to the post.

The FT is the CCG’s current provider of community services and will continue to be until the High Court makes its decision.

But if that decision goes against the trust it will be another blow following the CQC rating it as “inadequate” for safety in August.

It is not known whether the winning bidder, rumoured to be private firm City Health Care Partnership, had put in a cheaper bid than Humber’s.

The CCG confirmed a preferred bidder had been chosen and said the procurement had been conducted in a “fair, open and transparent” manner, but that the unsuccessful bidder had the right to challenge the process.

Cashflow crackdown

In recent weeks the difficulty the NHS is having on containing revenue spending has been well documented (by us) but we’re now seeing signs that the service is fighting off a full blown cashflow crisis.

A leaked email from NHS Improvement says NHS trusts will face tighter controls when requesting cash bailouts to ensure staff and bills can be paid.

From now on, when trusts ask for a bailout they will be subject to an increased level of challenge scrutiny from the Treasury and Department of Health. As part of this, providers will have to detail where suppliers have threatened to put their account “on stop”.

This is in response to the increasing amount of bailouts being requested by providers.

Trusts’ reliance on bailouts has been growing in recent years as expenditure has grown faster than income.

It is highly unlikely that a hospital would ever be allowed to run out of cash by the DH. However, the new controls are likely to be an attempt to encourage tighter cash management, in a bid to encourage greater focus on reducing trusts’ operating costs. It could also encourage trusts to ensure timely payments from their commissioners.