Flagship £690m cancer procurement abandoned over financial fears

– Staffordshire CCGs unable to award £687m cancer prime provider contract


– Privately led consortium unable to convince CCGs the contract was financially viable


– Decision follows the collapse of the UnitingCare Partnership contract in 2015


– The procurement has cost the four Staffordshire CCGs more than £840,000


A controversial tender for cancer services in Staffordshire worth £687m has been abandoned after a consortium led by a private provider failed to convince commissioners its offer was financially viable.
The tender process for the 10 year, prime provider contract has been running since 2013 and HSJ understands the procurement has cost the four Staffordshire CCGs more than £840,000.
The prime provider contract would have lasted 10 years
Only one bidder, a consortium led by Interserve, remained in the running for the contract. The consortium also included University Hospitals North Midlands Trust and The Royal Wolverhampton Trust.
The decision by commissioners not to award the contract on financial grounds follows the collapse of the £800m UnitingCare Partnership contract, which was abandoned in December 2015 eight months after going live.
As a result, procurement of the Staffordshire cancer contract and a separate £535m end of life care contract were paused for several months while a review was carried out. The process resumed in November.
Andy Donald, chief officer at Stafford and Cannock Chase CCGs, who was leading on the project, told HSJ today that he was “disappointed” commissioners had not been able to award the contract.
He said: “The remaining bidder couldn’t convince us they could deliver with the resources available. They couldn’t meet the required evaluation criteria.”
He said the work that had been done, including setting out clear outcome measures for cancer care in the county, would be used to hold individual providers of cancer services to account for improvements.
The contract was designed to deliver service integration through a single prime provider that would be responsible for commissioning services measured against outcomes agreed by commissioners, including full recovery, longer life expectancy or pain free dignified deaths.
Mr Donald added: “There was always a chance that we would end up here but the work that has been done will be carried forward. We still have a problem in Staffordshire with poor survival rates and while some people will be pleased this contract hasn’t been awarded, at the end of the day it was all about improving patient experience and outcomes. There has been a lot of learning here.”
He said the landscape in the NHS has changed significantly since 2013 and the focus now was more about integration than procurement. “That is not going to be the main vehicle for delivering transformational change now,” he added.
The commissioners involved in the procurement were Cannock Chase, North Staffordshire, Stafford and Surrounds, and Stoke on Trent CCGs, as well as NHS England’s specialised commissioning team.

The end of life care contract procurement, which has three remaining bidders, is continuing as planned.