Pre-empting next month’s PBC guidance, Mr Ricketts said: ‘We are hearing so many complaints about PCTs thinking they have to do this, we need guidance.
‘There is a misconception that everything has to be formally tendered and procured — even some services over £150,000 don’t have to be.
‘If you can demonstrate the service you are offering is beneficial and value for money, you may not have to tender at all — it will be covered in the guidance.’
However, in the past all new services worth more than £150,000 have been put out to tender in the Official Journal of the European Union. Tim Winn, partner at health specialist law firm Mills and Reeve, believes that will still apply, describing Mr Ricketts’ advice as contravening EU law.
Kent GP Dr Simon Collins had his hopes of taking over a practice, at which he is currently a salaried GP, dashed when the PCT decided to put it out to tender (GP, 1 September).
But he said he would not support a system of issuing contracts without first putting it out to tender to different providers.
‘I would be a happy recipient if they decided this, but I’ve got no divine right in my case,’ he said.
‘It’s public money and needs to be accountable to the public . The system needs to be fair for all.’