The Department led centrally on the national independent sector treatment centre (ISTC) programme. The procurement process was designed to allow the independent sector to work in partnership with local healthcare economies to provide solutions to meet local requirements and work effectively alongside national health service provided services.
The Department published the following guidance:
Growing Capacity: A new role for external providers in England (25 June 2002);
Growing Capacity Independent Sector Diagnosis and Treatment Centres (23 December 2002);
Access Capacity Planning Guidance for the period 2006-07 to 2007-08 (1 May 2004); and
ISTC Manual (9 February 2006).
Copies of the guidance have been placed in the Library.
The Department has stated that it has no plans to run a third wave of ISTC procurement and will instead move towards greater local determination.
All independent sector treatment centre (ISTC) providers can employ any clinician regardless of their previous national health service engagement with the exception of a six-month restriction on those occupations listed on the Shortage Professions List.
However, ISTC providers can employ NHS clinicians (including those on the Shortage Professions List) during their non-contracted hours, provided they obtain the agreement of the NHS employer body.