Leaked document reveals 3,500 to be employed by NHS Commissioning Board

By Abi Rimmer, 06 July 2011

The NHS Commissioning Board will employ 3,500 staff and be responsible for an NHS budget of £80bn, leaked board papers have revealed.

Sir David's plans revealed that the NHS Commissioning Board will be responsible for a commissioning budget of around £80bn a year

Sir David's plans revealed that the NHS Commissioning Board will be responsible for a commissioning budget of around £80bn a year

The board papers entitled ‘Designing the NHS Commissioning Board’ which revealed NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson’s plans for the future of the NHS Commissioning Board, were leaked to the Health Service Journal website.

The papers revealed that the NHS Commissioning Board will be responsible for a commissioning budget of around £80bn a year ‘to secure the best possible health outcomes for patients and communities’.

The board will also commission directly ‘around £20bn of services’ to include ‘specialised commissioning and local primary care services (including holding around 33,000 contracts for primary care services)’. 

Around 3,500 staff will run the board, carrying out functions currently performed by 8,000 staff, the papers said.

The board will be organised nationally around the five outcome domains in the NHS Outcomes Framework.

Sir David said he envisaged ‘dedicated teams’ working for the board alongside clinical commissioning groups ‘providing development support, monitoring finance and performance, measuring outcomes and providing information and more general communication’.

The board itself will commission primary care services at both a local and national level. It will also support clinical commissioning groups with commissioning.

‘In addition, I envisage a significant role for clinical commissioning groups themselves in overseeing primary medical care contracts and improving the quality of primary care, supported by the board,’ Sir David said.

The leaked papers revealed Sir David’s plans for the ongoing assessment and control of clinical commissioning groups.

In the paper Sir David said the assessment of commissioning groups would not be a one-off assessment, ‘but rather as part of a broader developmental relationship between clinical commissioning groups and the board’.

The papers said that the board will ‘assess and reward’ the performance of clinical commissioning groups according to the quality and outcomes achieved through their commissioning activities.

‘A quality premium payment system will reward clinical commissioning groups that improve outcomes and reduce inequalities within the resources available to them,’ the papers said.

The board papers also revealed Sir David’s plan to rename the NHS Commissioning Board ‘NHS England’.

Asked about the leaked papers during a House of Commons health committee meeting on Tuesday, Sir David said he planned to publish the document later this week. 

‘The final document has not been published yet,’ Sir David said.

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