• Social enterprise Sirona wins large community services contract
  • Contract covers Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire
  • Losing organisation’s chiefs resign after decision   

A social enterprise has seen off two other rivals to win a £1.2bn community health contract aimed at bringing services together under one provider.

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group announced it has chosen Sirona as its preferred bidder for its 10-year adult community services contract.

The patch’s service is currently carried out by three social enterprises, of which Sirona is one.

The other two bidders, Bristol Community Health and North Somerset Community Partnership, had planned to merge if either won the contract.

Bristol Community Health issued a statement saying it “accepted and respected” the decision and would therefore not challenge it. Its chief executive and chair – Julia Clarke and Steve Hughes respectively – have resigned over the outcome.

North Somerset Community Partnership indicated it would not challenge the decision after a spokesman said the organisation envisaged “the majority of staff will transfer to the new provider”.

The CCG said the contract marks an opportunity to join up services across its patch which would ensure “everyone receives the same high quality of care”.

Julia Ross, chief executive of the CCG, said: “People using [the] services told us they wanted to see more joint working between community services, GPs, social care, mental health services and voluntary groups.

“That’s what we’re excited to achieve through this partnership.”

Each of the three local authorities in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire were involved in the process to selection process.

The CCG’s procurement has been criticised by Bristol South’s Labour MP Karin Smyth. Earlier this year, she wrote to health and social care secretary Matt Hancock, asking him to halt the process because she believed it did not align with the NHS long-term plan.

The CCG expects to formally award the contract to Sirona in September. The contract goes live in April 2020.