IHPN responds to consultation on new NHS procurement rules
The Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN) has urged NHS England to ensure that new NHS procurement rules apply equally fairly to all providers, including from the independent sector.
Responding to NHS England’s consultation on a proposed new “Provider Selection Regime” which will replace NHS procurement rules, IHPN has called for the new regime to be based on considerations of service quality, rather than making it easier for contracts to be rolled over with NHS organisations even when service quality is persistently poor. As part of this, IHPN has proposed that NHS England to put in place further measures to combat potential conflicts of interests emerging in new Integrated Care Systems to make sure decisions are made purely in the best interests of patients and taxpayers.
IHPN has also welcomed proposals to strengthen patient choice and to make it easier for providers to deliver services through the Any Qualified Provider model without a formal procurement and has warned that these new rules must have a proper enforcement mechanism to be successful.
David Furness, Director of Policy, Independent Healthcare Providers Network, said: “NHS England’s proposals for a new “Provider Selection Regime” represent a big shake up to the existing procurement rules that provide a framework for independent sector providers to win NHS contracts. While the current rules can certainly be improved, we need to make sure that this new regime doesn’t provide commissioners with an excuse to avoid open procurement processes even when services are not delivering for patients.
“It is, however, very welcome to see the proposals commit to strengthening patient choice and recognising an ongoing role for procurement where that will improve the quality of services delivered to NHS patients, with the new rules being applied fairly and equally across all providers.
“In the months ahead we will therefore be continuing to focus on strengthening the new procurement rules as health legislation works its way through Parliament and ensure that Integrated Care Systems have a clear role for independent healthcare providers and do not become “closed local monopolies.”