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Almost half of CCGs now authorised, says Commissioning Board

Further 67 given green light, but 48 have conditions; total now 101

Caroline White

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Almost half of England’s Clinical Commissioning Groups have now been authorised, the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB), has announced today.

A further 67 CCGs from Airedale to Wyre Forest have been given the green light to commission healthcare services for their local communities, although 48 will continue to need some additional development support. The first 34 CCGs were authorised in December 2012.

A total of 211 CCGs will, from 1 April 2013, be responsible for £65 billion of the £95 billion NHS commissioning budget. The remaining 110 CCGs are set for authorisation over the next two months, says the NHS CB.

The second wave of CCGs will plan and commission hospital, community health, and mental health services on behalf of more than 18 million people. The 34 CCGs authorised last month will serve a total of around 10 million people.

Dame Barbara Hakin, the Board’s National Director of Commissioning Development, said: “The vast majority of these 67 new organisations have demonstrated excellence and a very high level of achievement and are clearly ready for the challenge of leading their local health communities in partnership with the public and with local partner organisations.”

She added: “Many have been commissioning services for one or two years already and are making a significant difference to local health and care services.”

Authorisation is granted only after experts have ensured the CCG is safe and effective through a process which includes reviewing the CCG’s policies, carrying out detailed site visits, interviewing and assessing its leaders and assessing its work with stakeholders and patients.

The Board has emphasised that it expects the development and improvement of all CCGs—including those fully authorised—to continue up to April, as well as beyond.

Nineteen of the 67 CCGs in the second wave have been authorised with no conditions, meaning they fully met all119 authorisation criteria. A further 45 CCGs have been authorised with conditions, meaning they will continue to receive some formal support so that they can fully meet the criteria in all areas.

Three CCGs—NHS Nene CCG, NHS Herts Valleys CCG, and NHS Medway CCG— will be authorised to take control of their commissioning budgets, but with more intensive support. This will be provided by the NHS CB or neighbouring CCGs, and will be underpinned by legal directions.

Dame Barbara Hakin said: “CCGs will have wide-ranging responsibilities and will manage very large budgets, so it is vital that they are robust and capable of making important decisions.”

She added that CCGs had made “fantastic progress in a very short time,” and that it had always been clear that some of the new organisations would be at different stages to others, often dependent on their previous commissioning activities.

“Even those CCGs authorised with no conditions at all will be working to make further improvements in the future, and the NHS Commissioning Board will continue to support all CCGs in their development,” she said.

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