COMMERCIAL: Pennine Care Foundation Trust has won one of the first community service contracts to be retendered with a partnership bid involving Age UK and a GP consortium.

The contract, covering the Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group area, is valued at £22.5m per year for three years, with an option to extend for a further two.

Pennine Care originally took over community services in Oldham in 2011 under the Department of Health’s transforming community services programme.

Under the new contract, which began in April, it has retained around 95 per cent of the services it took over in 2011.

Continence services will be provided by local private firm Lancaster House Consulting, Diagnostics & Surgical, while respiratory care will be provided by Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust.

Although Pennine Care won the tender, an important element of its bid was its commitment to involve a wider range of organisations. These include Oldham Council, the local branch of Age UK, Voluntary Action Oldham, and the GP consortium, Primary Care Oldham.

Under the contract, community services will be reorganised around eight clusters of GP practices, each with a population of between 25,000 and 30,000. Each locality will have a GP lead, and input from the council and charity sector on how services will be led and designed.

To begin with, partner organisations would receive very little of the contract value – less than £1m a year.

However their share could expand as alternative forms of provision are developed.

This could involve charities becoming more involved in enabling frail older people to keep themselves healthy at home. It could also involve primary care becoming more integrally involved with community services.

This might lead to an increasing amount of the contract value being diverted away from Pennine Care.

Richard Spearing, the trust’s director of service development and partnerships, told HSJ: “In terms of integrated care it needs to be partners working together - we need to do the right thing for our populations, rather than think about our own income.”

The Oldham contract comes after Northern, Eastern and Western Devon CCG announced its intention to commission community services without going to tender.

HSJ has also recently revealed moves in Bristol to set up a consortium of providers of community mental health services. Plans approved by Bristol CCG will put Avon and Wiltshire Partnership Trust in a “system leader” role, heading a consortium of NHS and voluntary sector bodies.