COMMERCIAL: A clinical commissioning group in the Wirral has awarded a place on a register of “any qualified providers” to a private company associated with most of the GP practices on the group’s board.

Peninsula Health Limited Liability Partnership was one of three providers accredited by Wirral GP Commissioning Consortium to offer its constituent practices primary care mental health services once the existing contract ends in October.

The LLP is a joint venture between Assura Medical and 25 Wirral practices. Six of the Wirral consortium’s eight clinical leads belong to practices which are members of Peninsula, as does its chair, according to interest declarations submitted to NHS Cheshire, Warrington and Wirral.

Consortium chair Dr John Oates’ wife also began working for Peninsula on a temporary contract on 1 July this year, the papers state.

A spokesman for the primary care trust said no consortium member whose practice is part of Peninsula was involved in the selection of the providers, and all members of the evaluation panel signed a document declaring they had no conflicts of interest.

He added: “When the transitional arrangements were put in place to end the previous contract more than 1,200 patients were on the waiting list with some patients waiting for more than 400 days.”

Sheena Cumiskey, chief executive of Cheshire and Wirral Partnership Foundation Trust, which held the previous contract, said it had been “commissioned for 5,000 referrals but has received more than 9,000 per year, all of whom are offered an immediate initial assessment”.

The foundation trust was also accredited as a qualified provider in the Wirral GPCC tender. Four bidders failed to win accreditation. The two other CCGs in Wirral ran separate tenders to Wirral GPCC and awarded their contracts to different providers.