Care UK has withdrawn from the Thames Valley NHS 111 procurement process after identifying issues with their bid. Healthwatch Reading first alerted us to this after receiving a letter from Sam Burrows, the senior responsible officer for the procurement process. The letter explained that, on 3 November 2016, the 10 Thames Valley CCGs were contacted by the managing director of Care UK giving formal notification of their withdrawal.

Care UK had been selected as the preferred provider and had undertaken a six-week co-production phase with the CCGs, stakeholders and the public. Healthwatch Bucks has attended several co-production workshops where Care UK outlined their vision of the service.

Tell us about your experience with 111

The co-production process will now need to be repeated with South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) and partners, which may result in the launch being delayed from April 2017. Although, SCAS is the current provider of the service, they will still be expected to improve the service. The new contract requires that the provider will adapt the service to meet the changing needs of the population. They will also need to demonstrate how the service will cope with increased demand on emergency and urgent care services.

We’re working with Healthwatch Reading , which represents the Thames Valley Healthwatch group in relation to the 111 procurement,  to get more information regarding the impact of this change on the overall process.

Full statement from the Thames Valley CCGs

South Central Ambulance Service and partners identified as preferred provider for the new Thames Valley 111 service – ‘The new front door to urgent care’.

South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS), the current provider of NHS 111, has been selected by the 10 clinical commissioning groups across the Thames Valley as the preferred provider to deliver an integrated urgent care service across the Thames Valley.

Launching next year, it will be delivered in partnership with other local providers, and will offer patients access to a seamless 24/7 urgent clinical assessment and treatment service – bringing together NHS 111, GP out of hours and other clinical advice, such as dental, medicines and mental health.

Sam Burrows, the senior responsible officer for the procurement process said: “We are pleased to be working with SCAS on this exciting transformation, building on the strong performance currently delivered to patients across the Thames Valley.

“We are now entering a co-production phase with SCAS, which is still an ongoing part of the procurement process. A formal contract will be awarded once this phase has been completed successfully.”

SCAS’s Chief Operating Officer Philip Astle said “SCAS is delighted to be working with the Clinical Commissioning Groups and our partners from Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire to design and deliver a transformational integrated urgent care service for the people of the Thames Valley for the next five years.”

Care UK was initially selected as the preferred supplier of the new service, but withdrew from the procurement process after identifying issues with their bid. In line with the published procurement process, Thames Valley Clinical Commissioning Groups invited the reserve bidder, an alliance of NHS organisations led by South Central Ambulance Service, to enter a co-production process with them to design a new integrated urgent care system for Thames Valley.

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