CCGs could be forced to keep in line with council plans

The NHS Commissioning Board (NCB) could take action against clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) if their plans are not in line with those of local authorities.

DH: consultation on health and wellbeing board powers
DH: consultation on health and wellbeing board powers

The DH yesterday set out guidance for health and wellbeing boards, the organisations that will inform CCG commissioning decisions in England from April 2012.

From next April councils will take over public health budgets and host health and wellbeing boards, which will include CCG representatives. The boards will not be able to veto CCG decisions but are designed to 'inform' commissioning decisions.

The eight-week consultation published yesterday focuses on the public health commissioning priority plans to be drawn up by the boards, called joint health and wellbeing strategies (JHWSs). These are informed by the joint strategic needs assessments (JSNA) also produced by the boards that should take into account the needs of the whole population, not just registered patients.

Under the plans, these health and wellbeing strategies could consider how services ‘might be reshaped and redesigned to address the needs identified in JSNAs and reduce inequalities’.

The guidance reads: ‘If a health and wellbeing board thinks that a CCG has not taken proper account of the relevant JHWSs it can make this known in very clear and certain terms to the CCG, and also to the NCB.

‘The CCG must be able to justify any parts of their plans which are not consistent. The NCB can take action if it believes that the plan is not in line with the JHWS, without a good reason.’

The consultation is due to close on 28 September.

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