An Oxford trust heading up a consortium with five other providers looks set to win an innovative contract to deliver integrated adult mental health services across Oxfordshire.

Oxford Health Foundation Trust will be joined in the consortium by the charity Mind and four other organisations if it wins the outcomes based contract, which could be worth £135m over three years.

The consortium is highly likely to secure the deal after its lead member was named the “most capable provider” by Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, which designed the contract alongside the trust.


The successful bidder will be given a single budget to provide adult mental health services across Oxfordshire

Progress on the deal comes less than a year after the CCG was forced to put on ice its plans for three outcomes based contracts – including the mental health contract – after some providers raised concerns about the project.

The trust and the CCG have been redesigning the mental health deal since the beginning of this year.

Under the revised deal, Oxford Health will become the lead provider but will be obliged to draft in partner organisations to provide some aspects of the service.

The successful bidder will be given a single budget to provide adult mental health services across the county and will be held to account for improving seven patient outcomes.

These include: mental health patients living longer; receiving timely access to treatment; mental health patients having better physical health; and people with mental illness continuing to live in stable accommodation.

The decision to name Oxford Health as “most capable provider” was confirmed at the CCG’s September board meeting.

The commissioning group will spend the next few months negotiating how much of the budget will be tied to improvement against the outcomes, and how the performance related element will increase year on year.

Oxfordshire CCG clinical chair Joe McManners told HSJ it decided against going out to competitive tender because Oxford Health was judged to be in the best position to provide the service.

Its decision had been based on a “rigorous and formal” process, he added.

Dr McManners said commissioning a single pathway would “automatically mean” providers having to work together “effectively as one”.

The new contract would see Oxford Health and local organisations planning care collectively with the specified outcomes in mind instead of merely referring patients for treatment.

“That is much more likely to happen if they’re working as a partnership.

“The level of cooperation between the trust and the voluntary sector is already a lot higher than it was – already they’re talking about planning the services together.

“The key with integration is relationships [but] the fact that the incentives are aligned will help.”

The deal is expected to be finalised later this year, to go live in 2015-16.

Oxfordshire CCG is also developing a similar, integrated outcomes based contract for older people’s services with Oxford Health and Oxford University Hospitals Trust. This contract is also not expected to go to tender.

The most capable provider is likely to be a consortium led by the local acute provider and is due be announced this financial year.