COMMERCIAL: Oxfordshire leaders have agreed the terms of a £175m outcomes based contract encompassing most adult mental health services in the county.

The five year deal has been awarded to a partnership led by the incumbent provider Oxford Health Foundation Trust. The contract was not subject to a full competitive tender after the group was identified as the “most capable provider” by commissioners a year ago.

The contract goes live today, and is believed to be the first major outcomes based contract to be let for mental health services.

Local organisations, including the local branch of Mind and specialist independent mental health providers, are also part of the consortium.

The deal was first mooted in 2013 as one of three possible outcomes based contracts for the county, and to be competitively tendered. However, the process stalled after providers objected and final sign off has taken months longer than expected as the precise scope of the contract was agreed.

The contract is intended to transform local adult mental healthcare through the use of financial penalties if specified outcomes are not met. It is hoped that this will result in a service focused on patients’ recovery and wellbeing.

Twenty per cent of the total contract value will depend on the delivery of the set of outcomes (see table, below). Implementation of this will be phased, and the measure will only be fully brought in at the end of the second year of the contract.

The outcomes and measures agreed by Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Oxford Health FT

People living longerMortality rates of people with severe mental illness compared with the wider population
People more able to functionProgress against the “recovery star”; success of discharge; clinical progress through Health of the Nation outcome scales clusters
Timely access to supportCrisis response within two hours where the need is urgent
Carers feeling supportedSurvey to determine satisfaction among carers
People having a meaningful role in societyPercentage of people in paid work; percentage of people in structured education or volunteering
People having stable accommodationRates of people with a settled home, including those in supported housing
People having improved physical healthReduced use of urgent care for physical health; reduced rates of smoking; more people with a “normal” body weight