Monitor has found against NHS commissioners in the first stage of a competition case, HSJ can reveal.

Papers released this week indicate that the regulator, which is responsible for settling complaints about procurement and contracting, has “identified potential issues” with a procurement process run by a group of clinical commissioning groups in north east London.

In minutes released ahead of the board meeting of NHS Improvement – the composite body of Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority – Monitor said its cooperation and competition directorate’s initial review of the case had “identified potential issues” with the procurement of elective services, but did not say what these were.

Private healthcare firm Care UK had complained that commissioners had:

  • not followed due process in agreeing to sub-tariff prices;
  • failed to take quality sufficiently into account; and
  • discriminated against it by not running a competitive tender for other services.

The three outer north east London CCGs had initially awarded the five-year, £55m contract to run services at the North East London Treatment Centre to Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust. The centre is on the site of the King George Hospital run by the trust.

But the decision was challenged by private care firm Care UK and referred to Monitor.

Monitor said it had asked the parties to the case to respond this month and that its “final conclusions” will be published in February…. read more

HSJ: 30 January 2016

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