• Hertfordshire Community Trust rules out legal challenge after commissioners give £44m contract to London trust
  • But chief executive says she is talking to regulators about “implications for system”

A trust set to lose nearly a third of its income after missing out on a major service contract has ruled out a legal challenge.

Central London Community Healthcare Trust has been announced as the winner of a £44m-a-year contract in west Hertfordshire.

CLCH – which runs services across inner and outer London and already provides some public health services in Hertfordshire – was given a five-year contract, with the potential to extend for another two years.

The incumbent provider is Hertfordshire Community Trust, which has a turnover of £142.2m.

HCT’s chief executive said, while she was “very disappointed”, her trust would not be raising a legal challenge to the decision, which it felt did not take account of the quality of its services.

She said in a statement: “After thorough consideration, in order to minimise potential disruption for local people and to avoid using additional public funds, our board has decided that we will not be raising a legal challenge to the decision.

“We are, however, talking to our regulators NHS Improvement and NHS England about the possible implications for the wider health and social care system.

“We will continue to deliver high quality community adult health services in west Hertfordshire right up to the point where these services transfer to CLCH, including ensuring that patients continue to get the benefit of co-ordinated care through our close relationships with mental health, primary care, social care and local community and voluntary services.

“We will also maintain our focus on our long-term integrated health strategy and continuing on our journey to outstanding.

“HCT is proud to be a good employer. We will support all staff affected by the decision to ensure that there is a smooth transition to CLCH for them and for our patients and local communities. We will continue to deliver our portfolio of specialist services for adults in west Hertfordshire as well as our services for adults in east and north Hertfordshire and our countywide services for children and young people.”

The Hertfordshire trust has a “good” rating from the Care Quality Commission.

CLCH already provides sexual health and respiratory services in Hertfordshire and will take over the new contract in October.

Chief executive Andrew Ridley said: “We are very pleased to have been chosen as the new provider of adult community services in west Hertfordshire.

”It’s an opportunity to deliver an integrated model of care that builds on our experience as an established healthcare provider in Hertfordshire, and adds to our significant expertise in delivering community services across 10 London boroughs.”

Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group, the commissioner, said CLCH was “a well-established NHS organisation and already familiar with west Hertfordshire, as providers of integrated community respiratory care”.

It said: “During this extensive process, CLCH evidenced their strong track record in delivering transformation and demonstrated their ability to respond effectively to our requirements.”