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Last tranche of 48 CCGs given go ahead by Commissioning Board

But only 10 have no conditions attached to authorisation

Caroline White

Thursday, 14 March 2013

All 211 clinical commissioning groups have now been authorised, with the last tranche of 48 given the go ahead by the NHS Commissioning Board. But only 10 in this last batch have met all the required criteria.

A further 38 were authorised with conditions, seven of which were also issued with legal directions, meaning the Commissioning Board, and in some cases, neighbouring CCGs, will provide more formal development support, underpinned by legally binding instructions.

The seven comprise NHS Basildon and Brentwood CCG, NHS Croydon CCG, NHS East Surrey CCG, NHS Enfield CCG, NHS High Weald Lewes Havens CCG, NHS Thurrock CCG, and NHS Waltham Forest CCG.

The authorisation process began with the first wave of 34 CCGs in December 2012, followed by a further 67 in January and 62 more in February.

In total, 43 of the 211 CCGs have been fully authorised, meaning they met all 119 criteria for authorisation. A further 168 have been authorised with conditions, meaning they have some additional work to do before they fully meet the criteria. This includes 15 issued with legal directions.

From April 1 CCGs will become responsible for £65 billion of the £95 billion NHS commissioning budget and will plan and commission hospital, community health, and mental health services on behalf of almost all of England’s population.

“The vast majority of these 211 new organisations have demonstrated a very high level of achievement, and are well-prepared to take on the challenges of commissioning excellent, integrated health care, working with local partners,” said Dame Barbara Hakin, NHS CB National Director: Commissioning Development.

“But it is just the beginning: these new organisations will continue to need to develop and grow, bringing real, tangible benefits to patients and local communities.”

The NHS CB will continue to support all CCGs to continually develop and improve, and later this month, will re-assess all CCGs authorised in the first three waves of the process. Many are expected to be able to discharge the majority of conditions. CCGs authorised in wave four will be reviewed in June 2013.

“CCGs will have wide-ranging responsibilities with regard to patient safety and will manage very large budgets, so it is vital that they are robust and capable of making important decisions. The NHS Commissioning Board has a duty to ensure CCGs have made arrangements to deliver their responsibilities, and we take that duty very seriously,” said Dame Barbara.

She added: “CCGs have made fantastic progress in a very short time. It has always been clear that some of the new organisations would be at different stages to others, often dependent on their previous commissioning activities. We are confident that they will be able to further develop their capabilities within the coming months.”

Charles Alessi, Chair of NHS Clinical Commissioners, said that CCGs locally led clinical commissioning has today “taken a major stride forward.”

He added: “Clinical commissioners are already beginning to tackle issues head on working with their local community’s to develop their own solutions that respond to local needs and patients’ concerns.”

And he said: “We know that the NHS has to confront significant financial challenges in the years ahead. [But] CCGs have the opportunity to do things differently, build links across health and social care and deliver innovative solutions to help secure the long-term future of the NHS.”

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