Update on Withnell Health Centre – 5 February 2024

Date posted: 5th February 2024

The following statement provides an update on Withnell Health Centre:

Professor Craig Harris, chief operating officer for Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board, said: “I want to provide reassurance to the local population who access services at Withnell Health Centre that we have, and continue, to explore in detail all guidance on the new Provider Selection Regime and how this can and must be applied. This is new guidance, which only came into effect on 1 January 2024, and is therefore untried and untested.  

“Our recent proposal for a competitive process was based on guidance relating to using the most suitable provider process, which says there is a need to identify ‘all suitable providers’ and therefore potentially involves a significantly wider assessment of other potentially suitable and interested providers. The paper also describes the route as being, in many aspects, similar to the competitive procedure and would likely require an assessment of providers against criteria based on information the ICB would need to receive from both interested and suitable providers. 

“The recent paper at the Primary Care Commissioning Committee described the competitive procedure as a timely option. This intended to recognise the concerns of patients, staff and the local community and provide an opportunity for a potentially quicker resolution within the timeframes we have set out, whilst ensuring we follow due process for equity and fairness.

“No decision has yet been taken regarding the process for appointing a long-term provider for Withnell Health Centre. The committee decided that it is important to consider additional legal guidance prior to making a decision and this is our current position. This will be discussed at a future Primary Care Commissioning Committee. 

“We remain committed to securing the best outcome for Withnell Health Centre and its patients within the legal guidance we are required and permitted to consider."

There is considerable detail in how this should be applied which NHS England has published on its website.

More information, frequently asked questions and key updates will be shared on the Withnell Health Centre page on our website.

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