COMMERCIAL: The Greater Manchester cluster of primary care trusts has signed a contract worth an estimated £1.8m for the provision of home oxygen services to all 10 PCTs in the area.

A report that will be presented to the cluster’s board tomorrow states that at its last meeting, in November, its director of finance had “highlighted concerns” about whether the anticipated savings commissioners would make from the scheme were “genuine”.

“It is estimated that the value of the contract for the 10 Greater Manchester PCTs will be £1.76 million and this should result in savings of £2.63 million to the Greater Manchester PCTs on a full year basis,” it continues.
“Further work has been undertaken confirming that the figures are accurate and early indications from a pilot PCT elsewhere in the country confirm a significant level of savings. It should also be noted however that the ability to deliver the full benefit of the new contractual arrangements will be dependent upon having effective management of the contract in place alongside locally based home oxygen assessment services to regulate the use of home oxygen for appropriate patients.”

It notes that within Greater Manchester there is “currently variation in relation to home oxygen assessment services in all of the 10 PCTs”. Work is “therefore planned with the clinical commissioning groups to explore the establishment of a single specification for this service to drive up consistency of approach including the potential to establish a more well defined pathway of decision making to support the prescribing of home oxygen”.

The report concludes: “On the basis of the further work that has been undertaken the chief executive of NHS Greater Manchester has signed the contract on behalf of the 10 PCTs within Greater Manchester.”