Tuesday 24 January 2023

North West London Integrated Care Systems terminates Urgent Treatment Centre provider's contract at Central Middlesex & Northwick Park sites, along with others

 From the HSJ LINK , by Nick Kituno

An integrated care system has terminated a private provider’s contract to run four urgent treatment centres following performance concerns, HSJ has been told. 

Two local acute trusts were expected to take over from provider Greenbrook Healthcare this week, following the decision by North West London ICS.

The impacted sites include Hillingdon UTC, which is co-located with the Hillingdon Hospitals Foundation Trust, as well as the Ealing, Central Middlesex and Northwick Park sites that are near to the respective hospitals run by London North West University Healthcare Trust.

Two other UTCs on the patch, at St Mary’s and West Middlesex hospitals, are unaffected.

Greenbrook Healthcare is owned by the Totally plc group and its services provided to the NHS include urgent care, planned care and insourcing.

The ICS declined to say why the contract had been ended, but a senior source close to the situation told HSJ it followed performance and staffing concerns.

Winter and performance plans published by the ICS in July and October last year cited performance problems with its UTCs, although it did not mention particular centres.

A report in the summer cited “system wide actions to understand and address weaknesses in UTC performance”, while another in October said a “remedial action plan” was in place “submitted by Totally plc in July 2022, which includes specific actions on staffing performance and re-direction initiatives”.

In a joint statement, North West London ICS and Totally plc told HSJ

“As Greenbrook Healthcare approaches the end of its contracts with commissioners to provide urgent care services via UTCs at Ealing, Northwick Park, Central Middlesex and Hillingdon hospitals, and whilst we agree handover plans to the local NHS trusts, the delivery of excellent patient care remains our joint priority.”

The ICS tendered for the long-term running of the UTCs in November, saying at the time that the new providers expected to be in place from early 2023. The ICS has not yet announced the result of the tender. The £26m contract would run for three years and include an option for a further two.

North West London clinical commissioning group awarded a short-term contract to run the UTCs last year, pending the longer-term procurement exercise.

The developments in north west London follow the Care Quality Commission placing four UTCs run by a different independent provider in the North East London ICS in special measures last month, but this is not directly related to Greenbrook or Totally.

Questions have been raised about the workforce model of UCCs in London.

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