One of England’s largest healthcare contracts awarded to Essex based provider

The North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (NEE CCG) has today announced that Anglian Community Enterprise (ACE) has been awarded one of England’s largest current healthcare contracts that will see patients having access to greater person-centred, co-ordinated care and support in the future.

Attain have supported NEE CCG throughout this process from pre-procurement to contract award. Gareth Hartley, Associate Director at Attain and the Head of Attain’s Service Transformation team said: “It has been great working with the CCG team, who have been genuinely committed to making a difference for the people of North East Essex. It has been incredibly rewarding to know that all of their hard work and effort has paid off; this goes to show how competition can be used to transform services and benefit people’s health and wellbeing.’’ Pam Green, Director of Transformation and Strategy at NEE CCG added: “I would like to thank Attain for their objective and technical procurement and commercial support along this journey. It’s great to work with an organisation whose values are so closely aligned to those of the NHS, and with such a professional team who had great energy and a genuine desire to make change happen.”

ACE, who is locally based, will be responsible for providing services such as community nursing, falls, audiology, cardiology and ophthalmology across Colchester and Tendring from April 2016 – known as Care Closer to Home. The decision follows detailed evaluation of all the bids received by the CCG as well as extensive consultation and engagement over the past two years.

These out of hospital services will be centred around the needs of the patient, nearer to their home – with easy access to family, friends and carers. GPs will be able to refer their patients to a single gateway where they will be assessed by a clinician who can help them to draw up their shared care plan. Service users and their carers would then be able to work with a care co-ordinator to ensure their care plan is achieved. They will only need to have one assessment, saving them the need to repeat their story to different clinicians.

The CCG is responsible for buying healthcare services in the area and, following a public consultation, the CCG invited interested parties to submit bids to run the service.

Samantha Hepplewhite, Acting Chief Officer at the North East Essex CCG, said: “This was a very rigorous process and we received high levels of interest from the market with some very strong bids. ACE has demonstrated robust quality, service delivery, transformation and patient experience in their bid. They also displayed a sound knowledge of healthcare provision and the importance of working with health and social care professionals to offer a joined up service. We are now looking forward to working with ACE to ensure these services are up and running by April 2016 and to ensure people know about how these changes will affect them in the future.”

ACE is a multi-award-winning organisation providing a comprehensive range of NHS community health and well-being services across north east, south and west Essex. ACE is employee-owned with more than 1,100 staff and has an annual income of approximately £56m. As a social enterprise, ACE invests any surpluses at the end of the year into service development and its local communities.

ACE’s Managing Director, Lynne Woodcock, said it was fantastic news for the local community, who will benefit from improved co-ordination of care and easier access to services. She said: “Care Closer to Home is integral to improving community health services by making a whole range of services available as close to people’s homes as possible. We know people would like their healthcare services to be more joined up and accessible and we are looking forward to working more closely with local GPs and the acute hospital to deliver a more seamless service.”