• Suspension of Nottingham Treatment Centre contract award lifted by High Court judge 
  • Rushcliffe Clinical Commissioning Group plans to award contract to local acute trust
  • But Circle to continue legal case against CCG

A judge has ruled a clinical commissioning group can award a £320m contract to its local acute trust despite an ongoing dispute from a large private provider.

Circle Nottingham is suing Rushcliffe Clinical Commissioning Group over the latter’s choice of Nottingham University Hospitals Trust as its preferred bidder for running non-emergency services at Nottingham Treatment Centre for the next five years.

When the legal action started, the CCG was barred from awarding the contract, while the court considered what impact doing so might have on Circle. Deputy High Court judge Sir Antony Edwards-Stuart has today decided the CCG can go ahead and award the contract. 

Circle, which has run the service for 11 years, claimed the CCG’s procurement had been “flawed” and that NUH’s bid contained “unrealistic proposed savings”. The company suggested NUH’s bid was not credible due to its troubled financial position.

Amanda Sullivan, chief officer at the CCG, said she was “very pleased” to confirm the contract award following the decision at the Technology and Construction Court.

But the legal dispute between the CCG and Circle is not over yet, with the latter confirming it will seek damages from the CCG following the “unfair” procurement.

A Circle spokesman said: “This does not affect our challenge to the CCG’s procurement process.

“We believe that we have presented the most credible, deliverable bid and that it is irrational for the commissioners to award a contract of this size and importance to a trust that is unable to meet current financial and operational demands.”

The treatment centre, situated on the site of NUH’s Queen’s Medical Centre, provides services such as outpatients, surgical theatres and diagnostic facilities to more than 200,000 patients every year.

Re-procuring services from the treatment centre has proved difficult, with the CCG’s first attempt halted last year after Circle threatened legal action.

Tracey Taylor, chief executive of NUH, said: ”Our proposal set out how we will provide services that further improve patient experience, outcomes and value for money to the local community in the treatment centre.

She added: “The new arrangement for the treatment centre will enable us to bring the clinical leadership community together to review how services can be better provided across primary, secondary and community care, as well as how we deliver services for patients that enable the provision of more effective end to end treatments across whole pathways.”