Commissioners have selected a consortium led by NHS providers as preferred bidder for a pioneering £800m contract to deliver older people’s services in Cambridgeshire.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group has awarded the Uniting Care Partnership, which comprises Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust and Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust, as its preferred option to be the “lead provider” under the new contract, which goes live in April 2015.

Older man

Uniting Care Partnership will deliver older people’s services in Cambridgeshire

The all NHS bid was awarded the much vaunted role over two other bids: one by the Care for Life consortium, which comprised private provider Care UK, Lincolnshire Community Health Services Trust and Norfolk Community Health and Care Trust; and the other from private provider Virgin Care.

The three bidders were told the CCG’s decision last night and staff at all organisations are being told this morning. Two senior sources have confirmed to HSJ that the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough FT-led bid has been selected.

The CCG is making an official announcement at 10am.

There will now be a standard 10-day ‘standstill’ period during which the CCG will debrief successful and unsuccessful bidders.

Ten bidders passed through the first stage of the contest to provide integrated older people’s services worth up to £800m.

Bidders that passed the “prequalification” stage included outsourcing giants Serco and Capita, private health provider Circle Health and UnitedHealth UK, a subsidiary of the US based health and wellbeing company.

A number of bidders dropped out of the process citing costing issues, including Serco, which stepped out of the contest in November 2013.

The decision follows a long and at times challenging procurement process, which has cost the CCG over £1m and seen the start date pushed back by a year.

UPDATE 10:10am

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG has put out an official statement.

Chief clinical officer Neil Modha said: “The aim is to have a single lead provider responsible for older people’s healthcare services and adult community health services, ensuring that care is more joined up than it has been, with a focus on improving the patient experience.

 “The design and procurement process has allowed people from a range of organisations to come together, develop and propose solutions to some of the service problems that have challenged us for many years.

“I would like to extend the CCG’s thanks to all those that have contributed to this process to date, including patients, clinicians and Local Authority colleagues.

“The final submissions from all three bidders reflected the hard work they have all undertaken to produce proposals for improving care for our patients.

“We have been impressed by the constructive way in which they have engaged with the CCG and other stakeholders, and the commitment they have all shown to improving outcomes.”

The Clinical Lead for the Older People’s Programme, Dr Arnold Fertig said: “The first task is to ensure there is a smooth transition of services, and to prepare for making the improvements in services and patient experience we all want to see.

“During this time the CCG and the new Lead Provider will work with existing providers of community health services to ensure that patients experience a seamless change from one provider to another.”

In a joint statement Uniting Care Partnership’s  Aidan Thomas and Dr Keith McNeil said:

“We are delighted that our NHS-led consortium, UnitingCare Partnership, has been appointed preferred bidder for the provision of older people’s healthcare and adult community services.

“We look forward to further discussions with the CCG to reach agreement on a formal contract that will enable us to begin to deliver the vital improvements to care for older people.”