Yesterday (21 February 2022) the Department of Health and Social Care launched its five-week consultation on the proposals for regulations to support the new Provider Selection Regime.
The PSR is the proposed new set of rules for the procurement of healthcare services in England. The aim of the PSR is “to move away from the expectation of competition in all circumstances and towards collaboration across the health and care system”. This shift in approach is intended to:
- remove unnecessary levels of competitive tendering;
- remove barriers to integrating care; and
- promote the development of collaborations.
The new regime has been designed with the intention of providing decision-makers with the flexibility to arrange services that "best promote the interests of patients, the taxpayer and the population". This overarching approach would be underpinned by decisions made covering a broad range of criteria, including:
- quality and innovation
- collaboration and service sustainability
- social value
- opportunities to increase access to healthcare, reduce inequalities and disparities, and promote patient choice
The executive summary explains that the PSR is intended to make it straightforward to continue with existing arrangements for service provision where those arrangements are working well and there is no value for the patients, taxpayers, and population in seeking an alternative provider. However, it says that in circumstances where there is a need to consider making changes to arrangements for service provision, the PSR will provide a sensible, transparent, and proportionate process for decision-making that includes the option of competitive tendering as a tool decision-makers can use in appropriate circumstances.
But in circumstances where choice of provider is constrained by the nature of the service and its interdependencies with other services, the proposed regime explicitly recognises this – and makes it clear that such core services can be arranged without unnecessary competitive tendering.
The powers to establish the PSR are set out in the Health and Care Bill which is currently undergoing parliamentary scrutiny in the House of Lords.
Due to timing constraints, the PSR will not be established at the same time as Integrated Care Boards (expected to come into force from July 2022) but as soon as possible after ICB establishment, subject to parliamentary approvals and scheduling of the Bill. In that context, decision-makers are reminded that they should not inform any plans on the assumption that the PSR will be established by an assumed date.
Have your say by 28 March 2022
The DHSC are keen to hear from respondents to help develop the regulations for the PSR. You can respond online and you can view the supplementary consultation documents on the detail of the proposals here.
Readers will note that the supplementary consultation document will provide potential respondents with the context and reasoning behind the questions the DHSC are asking and explains what previous engagement and analysis has informed the current position.
The further questions document on establishing the PSR for decision-making bodies and providers asks respondents for information which will help the DHSC understand how to support the system to establish the PSR.