Commercial Health Services

Most NHS care services bought by CCGs are provided by organisations within the NHS through legally enforceable contracts – including hospitals, community services and mental health. However some services are provided by private commercial companies or third/voluntary sector providers, who work to standards which are set by the NHS.

What is Procurement? 

Procurement is a word often used in relation to buying services, but not all services the CCG buys will have been agreed and arranged as a result of this. There are specific criteria attached, although generally speaking it is services delivered in the community much more likely to be bought through formal procurement.

It is much less likely that a hospital for example would be subject to an external procurement with the potential to be taken over by a private or voluntary sector provider, although it by no means completely unknown and has in the past experienced difficulties. For example, Circle Health (technically an employee owned partnership rather than commercial business) previouslu won a contract to run Hinchingbrooke Healthcare NHS Trust in Cambridgeshire but later withdrew.

How does the CCG procure services?

When procuring services the CCG must ensure fair opportunity, competition and value for money.  The form of procurement used will vary depending on the nature of the product or service being procured but can include competitive and non-competitive tendering.

Public procurement regulations and guidelines must be explicitly followed when determining the form of procurement and approach.  The regulations mean providers cannot be favoured simply because they are already in contract with the CCG, an NHS organisation, located in the CCGs area, or employing local people.

Where can I find details of procurement decisions?

You will find details of procurement decisions and a contract register that will distinguish between a provider that is NHS or is private and commercial.  You will also find details of all transactions over £25,000.

Other resources

You can search GOV.UK for details on procurements.

Who does the CCG currently buy its services from?

The CCG buys most of its hospital services from Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.  Their services are centred on Stoke Mandeville, Amersham and High Wycombe hospitals.  Most patients from the south of the county choose to have their treatment at Wexham Park Hospital in Slough because of its geographical location and previous experience of the services there.

The CCG buys most of its community services from Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust – which includes services such as District Nursing, Speech Therapists, Health Visitors, community physiotherapists and occupational therapists.

However ambulance and patient transport services, mental health services, learning disability services and other specialist services are bought from other providers.  The CCG transfers a significant amount of funding each year to Buckinghamshire County Council to fund services for elderly people, people with learning disability and re-ablement, and we contribute to services provided through the voluntary sector, such as hospices.

More information

Details of joint arrangements for funding with Buckinghamshire County Council available on the Better Care Fund page.

Other resources

Many contracts for services, both NHS and other providers, and/or following formal procurement, will use the NHS national standard contract in whole or in part.

The CCG operates procurements in a fair and transparent way in accordance with the Principles and Rules of Co-operation and Competition published by the Department of Health.

If you have any other questions…

Please contact:  Alan Kilham
Acting Associate Director of Procurement (Thames Valley Sector)
Email: akilham@nhs.net