CCGs unhappy with commissioning support on offer

Most clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are unhappy with the commissioning support available to them, a survey has found.

Dr Charles Alessi: 'Clinicians must be given the scope to determine with whom they work and at what price'
Dr Charles Alessi: 'Clinicians must be given the scope to determine with whom they work and at what price'

The NHS Clinical Commissioning Coalition, formed by the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) and the NHS Alliance (NHSA) surveyed 95 CCGs on commissioning support.

The survey found that the majority (84%) of CCGs do not feel that they had received sufficient information about the choices of commissioning support available to them.

Over 70% of CCGs felt that the commissioning support on offer was dissatisfactory, whilst over a quarter (26.7%) said that they were using their PCT cluster’s commissioning support. 

One CCG lead said they would use the support offered by their PCT cluster because it was of a  high quality and they had a good releationship with staff. However they were concerend that the PCT's support would be unaffordable.

No freedom of choice
NAPC chairman Dr Charles Alessi warned that CCGs were not being given enough freedom in choosing their commissioning support.

He said: ‘The Health Bill was intended to liberate clinicians to work with their patients. But the reality, as the implementation agenda unfurls, is that what we are seeing here is central control, which is incompatible with the intentions of the Bill. 

‘Clinicians must be given the scope to determine with whom they work and at what price. The propositions, being put forward in some SHA clusters, will severely restrict CCGs' ability to transform and modernise care.'

NHS Alliance chairman Dr Michael Dixon added: 'Clinical commissioners should be treated as intelligent customers not, as happens in some areas, as servants of their commissioning support. Furthermore, they should be able to get the right quality of commissioning support and have proper choice of who will provide that.'

A recent GP investigation found that while the number of CCGs obtaining outside support was small (18%), the majority of CCGs were seeking it from private companies, with some spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on developmental and commissioning support.

Just 4% of the CCGs covered by the PCTs who responded to GP’s investigation used support provided by their PCT.

  • GP magazine is a media partner for Commissioning 2012, an event in London on 27-28 June featuring more than 700 GPs and primary care managers. Speakers are expected to include health secretary Andrew Lansley and NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson.

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