• Luton CCG and Befordshire CCG sign five year contract for integrated urgent care service across their region
  • Despite also being part of the region’s STP, Milton Keynes CCG was not involved in the procurement due to differing specifications
  • Appears to call into question how urgent care can be integrated across the footprint

Two clinical commissioning groups in Bedfordshire have jointly contracted with a new integrated urgent care service, appearing to call into question how a major proposal in the area’s STP will be delivered.

Luton CCG and Bedfordshire CCG last week announced they had chosen Herts Urgent Care to provide NHS 111 and GP out of hours services across the patch.

A five year contract will start in April 2017. Bedfordshire CCG declined to comment on the value of the contract saying it was “commercially sensitive” information.

The sustainability and transformation plan for Luton, Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes says that between 2017-18 and 2020-21 it wants to enable “functional integration across the footprint” for urgent care services, to include 999 services as well as NHS 111 and GP out of hours. It says there will be a “single clinical hub” for urgent care delivered by a “single inbound call centre” that can deal with urgent and non urgent enquiries via calls, texts and online chat.

When asked how the three CCGs will engage with each other on urgent care, a spokesman for Milton Keynes said: “Milton Keynes CCG intends to functionally integrate the urgent and emergency services across the Milton Keynes area and where appropriate across the STP footprint.”

The Bedfordshire CCGs said they had considered commissioning jointly with Milton Keynes, but “because Urgent Care in MK is modelled on a different basis, it was not part of this procurement”.

A spokesperson for Milton Keynes CCG said it was “fully consulted” prior to Luton and Bedfordshire CCGs procurement process. However it is in the process of procuring its NHS 111 service separately as it did not want to include GP out of hours services as part of the tender.

Currently, NHS 111 and primary care out of hours services in Luton and Bedfordshire are provided by a number of different organisations which include South Central Ambulance Service, Care UK, BEDOC, MEDOC with contracts expiring at the end of March 2017.

Herts Urgent Care already provides services in the local area including for East and North Herts Clinical Commissioning Group and Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Group and was chosen after a five month procurement process which included public engagement.