STRUCTURE: The procurement of a new dermatology service in Brighton has been delayed because the preferred bidder has pulled out after it was unable to reach agreement with organisations it wanted to subcontract work from.

The £6m prime provider contract was awarded to social enterprise Brighton and Hove Integrated Care Service, which had been providing the service since 2010.

However, the social enterprise pulled out when it could not come to an agreement with the local organisations it wanted to subcontract work from.

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust was the only other party to bid for the three year contract, and Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group is now in talks with the trust to take over the service.

The organisations that the social enterprise planned to subcontract work from for the integrated service were: Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust; Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust; Boots community pharmacies; the National Eczema and Psoriasis societies; GP practices; and Brighton and Hove City Council.

The CCG decided to put the contract out to tender because the service had not been through a formal procurement and a model needed to be developed that could handle increasing activity.

Geraldine Hoban, chief clinical operating officer of Brighton and Hove CCG, said: “Our original bidder [Brighton and Hove Integrated Care Service] notified us formally of their intention to withdraw from the procurement as they were unable to reach agreement with subcontractors, and therefore could not meet the obligations of the contract. 

“Having sought legal advice, the CCG approached the second bidder, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust, and we are currently in negotiations with them. We are still operating within the current procurement process and consequently any agreement reached with BSUH will be consistent with the specification, finances and prime contractor approach set out in the original invitation to tender.”