• First attempt failed to find a suitable provider to run the screening programme across the south of capital
  • Initial contract offer was for £2.7m over five years
  • Two foundation trusts commissioned to run service as interim measure

Commissioners are relaunching a stalled effort to find a single provider for the abdominal aortic aneurysm screening programme in south London and parts of Surrey.

Last year NHS England successfully amalgamated the three screening programmes running in north London under a single provider.

It wanted to do the same in the south but it “was unable to identify a suitable provider” and had to take “interim measures”, commissioning the service from St George’s University Hospitals Foundation Trust in the southwest and East Kent Hospitals University FT in the southeast.

Now NHS England is again looking for a single provider. On 6 September it will hold a market engagement event to get feedback from would-be bidders “to inform NHS England’s approach to commissioning” the screening programme and for NHS England “to explain some of the learnings from the previous procurement”.

Last time the contract was for a provider to run the screening programme across south London and into East Surrey and Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group areas. It was worth more than £552,440 a year for at least three and at most five years.

A contract for running the service throughout north London was offered simultaneously. Private provider InHealth Group won the contract, worth nearly £4m over the full five years.

At the time, NHS England said the same provider could not run both north and south London services. It would not say if this requirement would be dropped when it offers the new south London contract.

A spokeswoman also would not say if the new tender will have the same value as before, telling the HSJ “more information will become publicly available” as the procurement process goes on.

Neither St George’s or East Kent would say if they intend to bid for the full South London service.

St George’s has run the screening programme on its patch “for a number of years,” a spokesman said. The trust screens approximately 6,000 men a year.

East Kent took over the service from Guy’s and St Thomas’ FT in November 2017 on an interim basis. This arrangement has added an extra 10,000 patients to the 12,000 screens it already did each year.

Story amended at 4.15pm on 17 August to state that three screening programmes were successfully amalgamated in north London last year, rather than five.