£5.5 billion Dudley health shake-up questioned by MP

A £5.5 billion contract to provide health services in Dudley for the next 15 years is being put up for grabs.

The controversial move – one of the first of its kind in the country – will bring a range of health services under one umbrella. But concerns have been raised that a deal could even be struck with an overseas service or a healthcare businesses such as United Health or Virgin Care.

Bids are being accepted for the contract for the ‘multi-specialty community provider’ (MCP) worth between £3.5 and £5.5 billion over the 15-year term with the closing date on July 13.

However Dudley North MP Ian Austin says a contract of its size and length has never been tried anywhere else in Britain and he is concerned private sector businesses could bid for all or part of it.

He said: “As I understand it, the contract is being advertised abroad and healthcare businesses such as United Health or Virgin Care could bid for it or part of it. No other NHS organisation has entered into a 15-year contract when it is impossible to predict what will happen on all sorts of issues such as the impact of new healthcare technologies, new drugs, workforce needs or changes or public spending.

“I also want to know what sort of say people will have over healthcare in Dudley over the next 15 years.”

Under the move from 2018, an MCP will provide services including urgent care and primary care out of hours services, adult social care, mental health services and end of life care and activities currently carried out by Dudley CCG. Mr Austin has tabled 60 Parliamentary questions and called for a meeting with the Health Secretary.

Dudley CCG’s chief executive officer Paul Maubach said: “We are the first vanguard to launch the procurement for an MCP. This represents a significant opportunity for potential partners. It will bring together services to create an accountable organisation.”

“Through enabling our staff to work more effectively together through a series of multi-disciplinary teams and a wider network of care, the MCP will support people in their own homes and communities to enhance individual independence and maximise their potential for improving their own health and wellbeing.”

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