Department of Health and Social Care
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New framework to help PCTs deliver services locally

New framework to help PCTs deliver services locally

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH News Release (2007/0288) issued by The Government News Network on 5 October 2007

The Department of Health today announced the names of fourteen organisations appointed to offer support services to the NHS through a new agreement, known as the Framework for procuring External Support for Commissioners (FESC).

The framework is comprised of organisations, which have undergone a robust pre-qualification process, and will offer a menu of services such as data analysis and contract management expertise to Primary Care Trusts (PCTs). The organisations on the FESC will not deal with the delivery of direct patient care.

Although a number of PCTs already seek external support in undertaking their commissioning activities, it is expected that the framework will provide easy access to a bank of specialist expertise. The FESC suppliers have been appointed by the Department of Health on the basis of their technical and commercial ability to deliver a range of appropriate services.

Health Minister Ivan Lewis said,

"This new guidance will allow Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) to benefit from a bank of knowledge already built up through the Department of Health procurement process. PCTs will be able to work with organisations that are already known and trusted, which will enable them to concentrate their efforts and expertise on providing patient care.

"Of course, it will be up to PCTs to decide if they want to use suppliers within the framework and if they choose to do so, PCTs will remain fully responsible and accountable for managing the services provided."

A typical example of the kind of service which could be provided by one of the organisations appointed to the framework would be in the delivery of data analysis services to help PCTs assess the specific community needs of the local population, analyse trends and pinpoint areas of particular need.

As well as providing a panel of expert suppliers, the framework is expected to help PCTs obtain the best value for money by minimising resource and cost implications associated with conducting procurement activities, which some PCTs face when trying to obtain external support.

FESC will form one part of the Department's wider world class commissioning programme which will be developed in the Autumn.

The Department also confirmed that NHS patients in Cumbria and Lancashire will benefit from reduced waiting times and more choice as a new partnership with the independent provider Capio to deliver health services in the North West reached financial close, with the first services expected to commence in November 2007.

As part of the ongoing programme of creating a diverse network of providers in the NHS, the Department today placed an advert in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) inviting independent sector providers to join a network of providers to run alongside the existing Extended Choice Network.

The Government is committed to extending choice for patients so that by April 2008 any patient who is referred for elective care can choose from any hospital across the country which meets NHS standards and costs ('free choice'). However, ahead of April 2008, from December this year, a free choice will now be extended to patients referred for General Surgery, Gynaecology and Cardiology enabling people to choose from any hospital nationally for their treatment.

Notes to editors

1. The following organisations have been selected for inclusion on the FESC:

Aetna Health Services (UK) Limited

AXA PPP Healthcare Administration Services Limited

BUPA Membership Commissioning Limited

CHKS Ltd, trading as Partners In Commissioning

Dr Foster Limited, trading as Dr Foster Intelligence

Health Dialog Services Corporation

Humana Europe, Ltd


McKesson Information Solutions UK Limited

McKinsey & Company, Inc. United Kingdom

Navigant Consulting, Inc

Tribal Consulting Limited

UnitedHealth Europe Limited

WG Consulting Healthcare Limited, Trading As WG Consulting

2. The PCT will always have a retained management function to oversee the supplier and the PCT will always itself retain commissioning experience and expertise. A FESC appointed commissioning supplier cannot be a provider of clinical services in the same PCT area.

4. The DH and PCTs will retain the right to ensure that Bidders will not be appointed to supply services where there is a conflict unless the DH and PCT are fully satisfied that this conflict can be effectively managed and the interests of patients and healthcare are not compromised. It is important to note that PCTs may still decide to undertake procurement independently outside of the national framework.

6. Several PCTs have identified the possibility of using FESC to support part of their commissioning activities. These potential pilots are: Ashton, Leigh & Wigan PCT, Cambridgeshire PCT , East of England SHA, Hampshire PCT, Hillingdon PCT, North East Lincolnshire PCT, West Midlands CBSA. .

7. Full details of the framework can be found at:

8. Capio has been awarded the five-year contract for the Cumbria and Lancashire Phase 12 Electives Scheme of the Independent Sector Treatment Centre (ISTC) Programme by the Department of Health.

9. Capio was selected as it was considered to provide the best service delivery model, satisfactorily met the performance criteria outlined as part of the procurement process, and were considered to provide value for money within the affordability threshold.


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