First CCGs given green light to commission

CCGs given green light
Published on Tuesday, 11 December 2012 09:54
Posted by Scott Buckler

Local clinicians have been given the green light to take control of the NHS budget in 34 areas of the country, the new independent NHS Commissioning Board announced today

The NHS Commissioning Board has authorised 34 new organisations – called clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) – to commission healthcare services for their communities.

They are the first of 211 CCGs that will from 1 April 2013 be responsible for up to £65 billion of the £95 billion NHS Commissioning Board budget.

The 34 CCGs, which have all completed a rigorous five-month assessment, will in total plan and commission hospital, community health and mental health services on behalf of some ten million people.

Sir David Nicholson, the NHS Commissioning Board's Chief Executive, said: "The creation of CCGs is a great opportunity for the NHS that will have real benefits for patients. In future, the vast majority of decisions about how we use the public's money will be made in the community by the clinicians who are closest to the needs of the people they look after.

"They have the knowledge and expertise to lead the improvements in services that we all want to see.  We are determined to push power to the front line where talented clinicians and their teams can make a real difference."

Dame Barbara Hakin, the NHS Commissioning Board's National Director:  Commissioning Development, said: "This is a step-change to a clinically-led NHS that is focused on delivering improved health outcomes, quality, innovation and public participation.

"We expect this to bring real benefits to patients as these new organisations begin to realise their potential. Many CCGs have already begun to make a difference by taking early responsibility for planning services."

Professor Azhar Farooqi, Chair of NHS Leicester City CCG and GP, said: "Coupling the knowledge and understanding of GPs and other clinicians with the insight and experience of patients is the best way to create a thriving, sustainable health community that puts patients first. It gives clinicians the opportunity to work together to genuinely make a difference to the way local services are provided, improving their quality and enabling patients to live longer, healthier lives."

CCGs, set up by the Health and Social Care Act 2012, will from April replace the 152 primary care trusts that currently commission healthcare services. They are independent statutory bodies, governed by their members: the GP practices in their area.

All 8,000-plus GP practices in England will be members of a CCG, putting the lion's share of the NHS budget in the control of frontline clinicians for the first time.

The NHS Commissioning Board is responsible for ensuring CCGs meet and maintain standards – as set out in the Health and Social Care Act 2012, the NHS Constitution and the NHS Outcomes Framework.

Authorisation is granted after experts have reviewed the CCG's policies, carried out site visits, interviewed its leaders and assessed its work with stakeholders and patients.

The NHS Commissioning Board stresses that it expects the development and improvement of all CCGs – including those authorised – to continue up to April, as well as beyond.

Eight of the 34 CCGs in the first wave have been authorised with no conditions, meaning they fully met all 119 authorisation criteria.  The remaining 26 authorised CCGs need to continue developing so they also meet the criteria in all areas.

OneCCG – NHS Liverpool CCG – made significant late changes to its commissioning arrangements. In order to have full assurance of these new arrangements, the NHS Commissioning Board has agreed with the CCG that the final review should be deferred until later in the process.

Dame Barbara Hakin said: "It is important that CCGs are robust and capable of making important decisions.  During authorisation, we closely scrutinise their leadership, engagement with patients and clinicians, and their financial stability.

"They are also assessed on the quality of their relationships with important partners, such as local authorities, with whom they will work to ensure a joined-up approach across healthcare, public health and social care.

"CCGs have admirably risen to the challenge. There is, of course, more to do and we will continue to provide support as appropriate. But these CCGs are to be congratulated on the fantastic achievement of establishing themselves."

The NHS Commissioning Board will complete the authorisation process for the remaining 177 CCGs in a further three waves, publishing the results in January, February and March 2013.

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