• Details of contract disputes between trusts and NHS England or CCGs obtained by HSJ
  • Brighton and Sussex trust won challenge over £6m payments to NHS England
  • Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG won dispute over contributing to building new hospital

NHS England has released details of three arbitration cases between commissioners and trusts in disagreement over millions in funding.

The documents, released under Freedom of Information Act, show:

  • Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust won a £6m dispute with NHS England over savings the national commissioning body was demanding on a specialist contract.
  • Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust won £8m from two clinical commissioning groups over transitional support and legacy costs.
  • Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG won its dispute with a local provider over contributing to rebuilding a hospital and invoicing for community services.

In July, HSJ reported the outcome of the £6m dispute between BSUH and NHS England, which NHS England had tried to keep secret.

An internal NHS England email obtained by HSJ showed a senior communications consultant writing to NHS England to say revealing details of the trust’s successful challenge might encourage other providers to do the same.

The dispute between Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust and North Kirklees and Wakefield CCGs concerned legacy costs totalling £3.9m and transitional support of £4.1m

An arbitration panel found the CCGs had effectively reneged on earlier agreements to pay the trust the agreed amounts.

Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG won its case over an undisclosed sum relating to a major redevelopment by Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust.

The trust said it would be difficult for it to deliver its control total if commissioners did not invest in the business case for the new Midland Metropolitan Hospital.

The outcome letter sent by the arbitration panel to the trust and CCG said: “There was no evidence presented by the trust that the CCG had contractually agreed to invest to the level outlined in the dispute – there is no evidence of a prior contractual agreement from the CCG, but there is a statement from the CCG that they would not be able to guarantee a level of income which includes funding for ‘aspirational developments’.”

The panel added: “This should not have reached the arbitration stage of the dispute resolution process.”

All three cases were heard by a panel convened by NHS England in January.

NHS trusts must use the NHS England arbitration process but contracts with foundation trusts are ultimately enforceable in court.

The names of individuals involved in the process and supporting documents were withheld from FOI response.

CCGs and trusts must pay a combined total of £50,000 to bring a case to NHS England for arbitration.