COMMERCIAL: Just two bidders have been shortlisted in the competition to run the services currently provided by Central Surrey Health, the first social enterprise to come out of the NHS.

NHS Surrey told HSJ today that only Central and North West London Foundation Trust and Central Surrey Health itself had been invited to continue to the “competitive dialogue” phase of the tender.

The social enterprise has provided NHS community nursing and therapy for a population of 280,000 since 2006. It describes itself as the “first social enterprise to come out of the NHS”.

However, the Department of Health has “mandated that this contract must now be re-procured,” according to NHS Surrey, which is managing the tender on behalf of Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group.

NHS Surrey Transforming Community Services programme director Chris Botten told HSJ today: “The first stage of the procurement process, which involved bidders submitting a Pre-Qualifying Questionnaire is now complete and two bidders have successfully progressed through to the next phase.

“The organisations that have gone through to the “competitive dialogue” stage are Central Surrey Health and Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust.

“Final bids will be submitted in September and our intention is to award the contract in the autumn.”

Documents prepared for potential bidders had previously anticipated three candidates would be shortlisted for competitive dialogue.

NHS Surrey told HSJ in July that it had had a “good response from the market” to the tender, with “public sector and independent providers” submitting pre-qualifying questionnaires.

The contract is expected to last five years, with a value of £113m to £125m.