Panel set to investigate health trust

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SCARBOROUGH health trust’s merger partner York Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is currently under investigation following a complaint.

The complaint has been made by Assura East Riding Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) - a partnership of GPs and healthcare provider Assura Medical - who say the trust has acted inconsistently with the principles and rules for cooperation and competition.

The matter is now being investigated by the Co-operation and Competition Panel, a body which can give independent advice to the NHS.

The trust is accused of failing to act consistently with a number of principles in relation to the procurement of an orthopaedics, musculoskeletal clinical assessment, triage and treatment service at a loss-making price.

Documents relating to the case show that the complaint relates to a tender which was awarded to the trust by North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust in May following a six-month process, which led to final bids being submitted in early January 2011.

The Primary Care Trust (PCT) decided to award the contract to York trust in February 2011, but the final decision was postponed as other bidders objected to the decision during the standstill period, on the basis that the price submitted by the trust was loss making.

The PCT then conducted further enquires with the York. As part of this process an independent accountant investigation into the trust’s costing and pricing approach was undertaken on behalf of the PCT.

Following these enquiries, and the Grant Thornton investigation, the PCT awarded the contract to the York.

The service began on September 1 and is for a period of three years.

York trust has told the Cooperation and Competition Panel it refutes the allegation that the prices submitted were loss making and will demonstrate that not only are all marginal costs of the new service covered, but that also the trust’s standard contribution to indirect costs, overheads and surplus is made.