NHS Commissioning Board announces first wave of GP commissioning groups as they take over £65billion budget
GPs in 34 areas across England have been handed control of NHS budgets as the Government steps up its reform of healthcare services.
The NHS Commissioning Board has authorised 34 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to lead the way in taking over responsibility for procuring £65billion worth of services.
The move comes before all new commissioning organisations formally take over the duty from 1 April next year.
All 34 pilot groups have completed a rigorous five-month assessment and will now plan and commission hospital, community health and mental health services on behalf of some 10 million people.
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
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 and we are determined to push power to the frontline where talented clinicians and their teams can make a real difference.”
Dame Barbara Hakin, the NHS Commissioning Board’s national director for commissioning development, added: “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.”
One of the 34 groups is NHS Leicester City CCG. Its chairman, Professor Azhar Farooqi, 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.”
This is a step-change to a clinically-led NHS that is focused on delivering improved health outcomes, quality, innovation and public participation
The 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, which are 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 will be 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.
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
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.
Eight of the 34 early adoption CCGs have been authorised with no conditions, meaning they fully met all 119 authorisation criteria. The remaining 26 need to continue developing.
Dame Barbara 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.”
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.