Posted by: westlancashirerecord | June 29, 2018

Lancashire County Council “Misled” NHS Trusts

The Lancashire Post reports how a judge has criticised Lancashire County Council for “misleading” NHS Trusts over the £104m Virgin contract. The comments come from the High Court case brought by two Lancashire NHS trusts against the county council in relation to the awarding of a contract for community healthcare services to private firm Virgin.

Once the council had made the decision, Lancashire Care NHS Trust and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Trust who previously held the contract for services such as school nurses, took legal action. Last week Mr Justice Stuart-Smith  blocked the awarding of the contract to Virgin after concerns were raised about the tendering process. The ruling means the process may now have to be run all over again and it could also expose the council to legal action brought by Virgin.

The judge said there was “no consistency” in the way in which the bids put in by Virgin and the NHS trusts were discussed by the council’s marking panel. He ruled that members of the panel were not collectively shown notes of the marking process until the NHS trusts launched legal action. The judge added that “Later, when the trusts were pressing for information, the council misled them by first redacting the dates and then backdating three of the individual members’ evaluation notes. To describe this, as the council did, as merely a ‘regrettable episode of poor administration’ is, to my mind, an unacceptable understatement”.

The judge said the council’s reasoning process was so unclear, it was impossible to say whether the marking process had been infected by “manifest error”.

Poor administration in LCC? At what level? It is beyond belief that some of the highest paid officers in local government are making LCC a laughing stock. Worse, the chance of Virgin now seeking its pound of flesh from we taxpayers is too horrific to contemplate!

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