Why we are concerned about the NHS Section 75 Regulations

by Imelda Redmond CBE Director of Policy and Public Affairs Imelda Redmond CBE, Director of Policy and Public Affairs

Tomorrow the House of Lords will debate new NHS Section 75 Regulations. We want to draw urgent attention to the unintended negative impact of these regulations.

The Section 75 Regulations set out the rules that commissioners must follow when letting NHS contracts.  In their current form, we are concerned that the regulations could mean that commissioners are unsure about when they must use competitive tendering and that this could lead to commissioners ‘bundling’ contracts into ever larger groups, which charitable providers will find it hard to bid for.  We are concerned that this could lead to a reduction in the number of charitable providers which deliver NHS services and ultimately poorer services for local communities which will lose access to many of the excellent services which charities currently provide. Our position is outlined in a joint briefing with Help the Hospices, National Voices, Sue Ryder and Together for Short Lives. The briefing provides members of the House of Lords with details of our concerns about the Section 75 Regulations, and what we believe will be their unintended negative impact on charitable providers of NHS healthcare such as hospices. Download the briefing (PDF, 200KB) Our position is further outlined in a number of recent articles and blogs.  Commissioning.GP featured an article in which we call for greater clarity for clinical commissioning groups over the “ambiguous” Section 75 Regulations and for assurances that commissioners will not ignore charities when awarding contracts. Read the article On the HSJ blog, our Head of Policy Phil McCarvill writes that the debate may reflect a lack of understanding about the current role that charities play in delivering NHS services, such as mental health services, specialist nursing services and the provision of hospice care. Read Phil’s blog On the politics.co.uk website and Open Democracy our Policy & Public Affairs Manager Scott Sinclair outlines our deep concern that the regulations will have the effect of forcing voluntary sector providers out of the market, and that this, crucially, will have a knock-on and detrimental effect on patients. Read Scott’s politics.co.uk blog Read Scott’s opendemocracy.net blog