NHS in London launches £80m procurement to help clear waiting lists

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An £80m procurement exercise to help clear NHS waiting list backlogs is being fast-tracked in London as existing contracts with independent sector providers in the capital are terminated.

Prospective bidders have until the end of next week to bid for the four-month contracts, which will cover inpatient and outpatient services, including pathology and imaging, elective care and cancer treatment. The scope of the procurement is also intended to permit NHS England to commission specialised services.

Providers will be expected to go live with services on 8 September when existing contracts with independent hospitals in London come to an end. The interim deal will ensure additional capacity for NHS patients in the capital while a national procurement announced earlier this week, and worth up to £10m over four years, is carried out.

A procurement notice issued on behalf of Guy’s & St Thomas’ Foundation Trust said: ‘The purpose of the awards is to assist efforts to reduce NHS waiting list pressures that have increased as a result of Covid-19. It is the intention for each Contracting Authority named in this notice to enter into a separate contract with a successful provider, for the services required by that authority.’

In August, NHS England informed 14 private hospitals in the capital, along with a handful in other cities, that they would be released from national NHS contracts signed in March as part of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite calls from NHS systems leaders in London to extend the deal into next year, it is thought that NHSE deemed prices in central London too expensive even at cost price.

The procurement notice said that in principle, pricing for all activity purchased will be based on the National Tariff 2019/20 plus Market Forces Factor, with no minimum payment or volume guarantees.