Barking and Dagenham CCG under investigation by watchdog

Matthew Hopkins, Chief Executive of Queen’s and King George hospitals

Matthew Hopkins, Chief Executive of Queens and King George hospitals - Credit: Archant

Health commissioners in Barking and Dagenham are under investigation by a government watchdog.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust announced yesterday that it had been chosen as the four clinical commissioning groups’ preferred bidder to run the elective care centre at King George Hospital in Goodmayes following a “competitive tender process”.

But today an investigation was launched after the current operators of the unit, Care UK Clinical Services Ltd, lodged a complaint with health service regulator Monitor, over the way in which the selection process was carried out.

In a statement, Monitor said the probe was underway following a complaint that pricing “was not consistent with the CCGs’ regulatory obligations” and that the national tariff was “not complied with when agreeing prices”.

“This case raises important questions about how the CCGs’ actions in commissioning the elective care services were in the interests of patients,” it added.

A spokeswoman for the CCGs (made up of Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge and Waltham Forest) said they would cooperate fully with the investigation, adding: “The CCGs remain confident that our arrangements to select a provider of these services were in the best interests of patients, in accordance with the NHS rules on procurement, choice and competition.”

Matthew Hopkins, chief executive of BHRUT, said: “We put in a high quality bid that was focussed on continuing to improve care and reduce waiting times for our patients.

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“We are more than happy to fully support the investigation and will provide commissioners and Monitor with any information they need.”

Monitor said it would publish a statement in the next few weeks setting out the issues which will be examined.