Care provision legal bid against WHSCT

A legal challenge has commenced against the Western Health Trust (WHSCT) about the way it has tendered for the provision of care in people’s homes.

An application for Automatic Suspension of the award of the tender has been granted by the High Court following action taken by one of the current providers.

The Management Board of the Independent Health & Care Providers (IHCP) has raised concerns about the process adopted by the Trust and supports the legal action taken.

Providers of domiciliary care were advised last month about the outcome of their bids. Most of the current providers (including nine IHCP members) were unsuccessful due to their pricing structure and are currently involved in the task of informing their staff and clients about the loss of the contract.

There is considerable level of uncertainty about future employment and continuity of care for clients.

Earlier this year, IHCP had raised with the Trust its concern about the overly restrictive cap of £10.40/hour below which providers had to bid. It is believed that some of the successful bids have been made below £9.80, a rate significantly below the current average cost of care of £14.06/hour in the Trust, which includes the in-house and independent sector provision.