Hillingdon primary care trust has confirmed BUPA as the company that will help it commission services under the Department of Health's external commissioner list.

HSJ had exclusively revealed that BUPA was set to be confirmed as preferred bidder to support part of the PCT's commissioning function, using the government's framework for procuring external support for commissioners (FESC) (for more background, click here).

On 18 September, the PCT presented five options to its board to fill the commissioning skills gaps the trust had identified.

The board voted for the option that will see BUPA employed to help validate activity data supplied by the trusts it commissions from. The PCT says BUPA will 'interrogate and validate activity data from acute service providers and identify queries within the data sets'. It will also 'benchmark commissioned acute sector activity to resolve areas of over-commissioning'.

BUPA Commissioning managing director Dr Natalie-Jane Macdonald told HSJ that the company would 'support and strengthen a small part' of the PCT's commissioning function.

'BUPA Commissioning will support the PCT by providing clinical validation and expertise to support performance management of acute contracts.'

BUPA will also help the PCT performance-manage the commissioned activity from acute trusts. Dr Macdonald said that the firm would work on the details of the contract with the PCT over next few weeks.

The PCT is aiming have the contract up and running from 1 November. The government is expected to announce the full list of approved external commissioners in early October.