Healthcare and local government officials have tendered a £6bn contract to provide non-acute care in Greater Manchester.
The 10-year contract to form a local care organisation (LCO) will look after community health, social care, primary care, mental health and voluntary sector services but exclude GP core services with GPs holding on to their GMS and PMS contracts.
This is the largest ever NHS services tender with other similar procurements, such as the MCP procurement in Dudley, amounting to £2bn.
The first of 10 such organisations in the area, the LCO will cover 600,000 patients with GPs operating in a ‘neighbourhood model’ that look after smaller groups of patients – between 30,000 and 50,000.
GPs in the area will be contractually linked to the LCO through a voluntary contract, which GP leaders in the area have said could take the form of a virtual contract or a partially integrated contract that will sit on top of GPs’ current GMS or PMS contracts.
The LCO contract will be awarded by Manchester Health and Care Commissioning, an organisation that includes all of Manchester’s CCGs and the city council.
Dr Tracy Vell, chief executive of Manchester LMC, said: ‘The LCO will improve patient care, which is most important, by removing organisational delays, and allowing for more population centred care.
‘Primary care will be enabled to care for its population by leading community teams strategically which improves the team by working in different ways with segments of the population which helps busy practices.’
Responses to the contract are due by 28 April, with the new contract to come into effect from 1 April 2018, despite initial plans stating that the contract was set to begin this month.
A joint statement from Manchester’s health and social care commissioners said the LCO will emphasise ‘combining the full range of out of hospital services’ into a single service’.
They said: ‘Our intention is to bring the complex range of services together in a way that makes them more accessible and easier to navigate. This integration is a strong part of Greater Manchester’s pioneering devolution arrangements.’