COMMERCIAL: Heart of England Foundation Trust has ruled out bidding to provide the new urgent care centre at Solihull Hospital.

The West Midlands trust has also agreed the location for the service with its commissioner, Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group.

Last month the boards of Heart of England and Solihull CCG both signed off a plan to locate the service at block 14 within Solihull Hospital, with the trust formally notifying the CCG that it would not tender to run the centre.

Solihull hospital

Heart of England FT made the decision in order to ‘act as a key strategic partner’

A trust spokesman told HSJ that the decision not to bid would enable it to “act as a key strategic partner” with the CCG in planning the service.

He added that this would allow “an extremely valuable joint approach” developing “the clinical and operational models, governance and the facility for both now and the future”.

Solihull has not had a full accident and emergency service for many years but currently delivers a walk-in centre, GP out of hours clinic and a minor injuries unit from the site. The trust was criticised last year by the Care Quality Commission for incorrectly labelling the latter as an A&E department.

The urgent care centre will replace the three existing services, with a tender process expected to be launched later this year to find a provider for a seven year contract to operate it.

According to Heart of England’s April board papers, the choice of block 14 for the centre will affect the trust’s phlebotomy and community services, which are likely to have to be moved to other locations.

The trust will supply the funding needed to refit the block, with the cost recovered from the lease or licence arrangement agreed with the winner of the tender.

A Heart of England spokesman said a joint project group between the trust and CCG had been established.

“Progress on the project is moving at pace and an architect for the project is set to be appointed [this month],” he said.

“Timelines for build and procurement are currently being agreed but dependent on build times we would expect to open in about 18 months.”