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CCGs offered enhanced powers to co-commission primary care

CCG representative body presents manifesto to government

Adrian O'Dowd

Friday, 02 May 2014

CCGs could be given enhanced powers and responsibilities to co-commission primary care under new plans announced by NHS England’s chief executive Simon Stevens.

Appearing in London yesterday at the annual conference of NHS Clinical Commissioners, the CCG membership organisation, Mr Stevens said he wanted to offer a new option for CCGs to co-commission primary care in partnership with NHS England.

Mr Stevens told the audience of more than 200 CCG leaders that NHS England would write next week to all 211 CCGs with details of how to submit expressions of interest in taking on enhanced powers and responsibilities to co-commission primary care.

Applications would need to describe the additional powers and responsibilities the CCG would like to assume and successful applicants would have to meet a number of tests, including showing they would help advance care integration, raise standards and cut health inequalities in primary care.

CCGs would also need to show how they would ensure transparent and fair governance – with a continuing oversight role for NHS England to safeguard against conflicts of interest – in the context of the CCG’s five-year plan for its local NHS services.

Mr Stevens said: “England has now taken the bold step – unique in the western world – of putting two thirds of its health service funding under the control of local family doctors and clinicians.

“If we want to better integrate care outside hospitals, and properly resource primary, community and mental health services – at a time when overall funding is inevitably constrained – we need to make it easier for patients, local communities and local clinicians to exercise more clout over how services are developed.

“That means giving local CCGs greater influence over the way NHS funding is being invested for their local populations. As well as new models for primary care, we will be taking a hard look at how CCGs can have more impact on NHS England’s specialised commissioning activities.”

Expressions of interest have to be developed by June 20, the same date that CCGs will complete their initial five-year forward views for local NHS services.

At the conference, NHS Clinical Commissioners launched a CCG manifesto for a high-quality sustainable NHS and handed it to Mr Stevens and health secretary Jeremy Hunt who also attended.

Making change happen: A CCG manifesto* said CCGs needed more freedom and responsibilities to make a real difference to the health outcomes of patients and populations.

The manifesto has eight specific requests to enable the potential of CCGs:

  • free clinical commissioners to act in the best interest of patients
  • make local system leadership a priority
  • have health and wellbeing boards as the focus of joined-up commissioning
  • not treat CCGs as a “risk pool” for the NHS
  • support to deliver large-scale transformation at pace
  • connect national and local commissioning
  • better align local commissioning to healthcare quality and the new inspection regime
  • ensure competition in the NHS in the best interest of patients.

Dr Amanda Doyle, co-chair of the NHSCC leadership group said: “The intention of the NHS reforms was to put local clinical experts at the heart of local decision making. We want politicians to trust in those original ambitions and give clinicians the freedom and space to work with their local community to determine the best outcomes for their patients.”


* Making change happen: A CCG manifesto for a high-quality, sustainable NHS. NHS Clinical Commissioners. May 2014

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