New contracts offer continued choice of ‘planned care’ services for local NHS patients
Local NHS patients will continue to have access to a wide choice of high-quality services for planned surgery such as hip operations, thanks to arrangements agreed by the region’s clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).
Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset CCGs have worked together to ensure that services previously delivered by the region’s Independent Sector Treatment Centres (ISTCs) will continue to be available to local people when the local Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire ISTC contract expires at the end of October.
What are ISTCs?
ISTCs were originally established by the Department of Health to provide additional capacity in the local hospital system and give NHS patients a greater range of options for non-emergency surgery, diagnostic tests and outpatient appointments.
Locally, they have been provided by independent provider Care UK at Emersons Green, Cirencester and Devizes. The CCGs have received positive feedback from patients on the services, and they have helped to provide extra capacity in the local health system.
Local CCGs were keen to ensure these services continued to be available to their residents after the contract expired and have worked together to identify and approve providers who can offer the services to patients.
CCGs will now observe a voluntary standstill period before entering into contracts with the following ‘qualified providers’:
- Care UK
- Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Independent Health Group
- New Medical Systems, trading as Newmedica
- Ramsay Health
From 2 November, patients will have the option of choosing these providers for their elective care, using the NHS e-Referral system available through their GP practice.
A key feature of the new local contracts for commissioners is that they carry no guarantee of income for providers, with their value ultimately depending on the number of patients who choose to use the services.
Payments will be set at the same price as activities in other NHS hospitals and according to national tariffs.