Brent Clinical Commissioning Group has finally awarded its £5.8m ophthalmology contract to private provider BMI Healthcare after a two-year hold up caused by complaints about the CCG’s procurement procedure.

The delay followed a complaint to the regulator about the CCG’s contracting process for an unrelated cardiology contract, which had been procured alongside the ophthalmology service.

As previously reported in HSJ, the Royal Free London Foundation Trust had been chosen as the preferred bidder for the cardiology services in August 2012- a choice which sparked complaints from the two unsuccessful bidders.

BMI Healthcare was picked as the preferred bidder for the ophthalmology contract two months later.

Brent CCG’s predecessor, Brent PCT, had made plans in 2012 to procure 13 outpatient specialties in five procurement stages, with ophthalmology and cardiology forming the first stage. The delays have hampered the whole of this wider procurement programme.

The CCG hopes to save £1.5m by awarding the contract to BMI Healthcare. The cardiology contract is estimated to be worth up to £4.8m over three years.

A spokeswoman for Brent CCG said that the ophthalmology service was expected to start in June, while the cardiology service would start from September. She added that this was “subject to agreement from Monitor”.

“The CCG is working with Monitor to resolve concerns raised by an unsuccessful bidder.”

A spokesman for Monitor said: “We have received complaints around the services, we’re reviewing them and we will be in a position to make a decision as to what action we take soon.”