COMMERCIAL: One of Bristol’s acute trusts is in discussion with a mental health trust and two social enterprises about teaming up to bid for a children’s community services contract in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

HSJ has learned from well placed sources that University Hospitals Bristol Foundation Trust is in talks with Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership, Sirona Care and Health CIC, and Bristol Community Health CIC about a joint bid for the contract.

Bristol Children's Hospital

Bristol Children’s Hospital

UHB already runs Bristol Royal Hospital for Children

The three non-acute organisations are already set to take on the services on an interim basis for a year from April, after the incumbent provider, North Bristol Trust, announced it was pulling out from the contract.

However the service will be re-commissioned on a long term basis this year. HSJ understands that University Hospitals Bristol is talking to the organisations about joining their partnership, along with the charity Barnardo’s.

HSJ understands the other organisations think a partnership with the acute trust, which runs the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, could create opportunities to join up patient pathways.

This could speed up discharges from the hospital and allow more children to be treated in the community when this is appropriate.

On behalf of the interim providers, Sirona chief executive Janet Rowse said the three organisations “were pleased to be awarded the interim contract for community children’s healthcare services in Bristol and South Gloucestershire”.

She added: “We have always been committed to the longer term provision of these services and we are currently scoping opportunities for working together, and with other potential partners, to put forward a bid to deliver the substantive contract.

“Given that the procurement process is underway, it would be premature for us to comment further at this stage.”

HSJ understands the prequalification questionnaire for the long term contract is due to be published shortly.

University Hospitals Bristol was approached for comment.