• Connecting Care Partnership vanguard decides to form alliance rather than procure ACO contract
  • Alliance could be in place as early as April 2018
  • Vanguard claims procurement process would take longer

One of the most advanced national vanguard projects has decided to form a multispecialty community provider through an alliance agreement rather than go out to procurement as it “would take longer”.

The six organisations in the Connected Care Partnership vanguard, based in Sandwell and west Birmingham, have chosen to form an MCP by entering an alliance agreement.

In a statement to HSJ, the organisations said: “An alliance arrangement can be effective by April 2018, rather than the procurement timeline for an MCP contract, which would take longer.”

The organisations in the alliance are:

  • Modality Partnership, a super GP partnership of 27 practices covering a population of 90,000;
  • Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust;
  • Birmingham Community Healthcare Foundation Trust;
  • Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health FT;
  • Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group; and
  • Intelligent Commissioning Federation, a network formed by 15 GP practices in Ladywell, Birmingham.

Commissioners and providers will use the “virtual” accountable care organisation contract model, published by NHS England earlier this month, to form the MCP.

Under the “virtual” option, providers and commissioners would form an alliance that would act on top of existing contracts rather than replace them.

The organisations said the alliance will not be a separate legal entity but will instead take on delegated responsibilities.

The Connected Care Partnership was one of the six vanguard areas chosen last year to test NHS England’s “voluntary contract” for GPs, which was then known as the MCP contract and has since been superseded by the national ACO contract.

Of the six areas, only Dudley and Manchester have decided to go out to tender to form an MCP and ACO respectively.

Naresh Rati, chief executive of Modality, said: “The local healthcare system has been discussing how we make the work of the vanguard become a part of everyday healthcare services. We have well developed and robust relationships across our local partner organisations, and it has become clear that an alliance arrangement will offer the most effective method for delivering our services for the future.”

A Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG spokesman added: “We believe that an alliance contract can offer a way to deliver this care, while building on the work of the Care Connected Partnership.”