CCG manifesto demands wider role and more financial freedom

CCGs need more power and financial responsibility to realise their full potential, according to a manifesto presented to health secretary Jeremy Hunt on Thursday.

Dr Steve Kell: NHSCC co-chairman calling for wider CCG role
Dr Steve Kell: NHSCC co-chairman calling for wider CCG role

NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC) presented a manifesto calling for ‘urgent  action to support CCGs’ at its annual members' event.

The event, attended by over 200 CCGs, exhibited clinician-led initiatives to improve patient care across England.

This included the work of three Norfolk CCGs who are developing Operation Domino, an urgent care initiative that has drastically reduced ambulance waiting times.

Budget raids undermine CCGs

But raids on CCG budgets and confusion over competition rules are undermining the groups’ efforts to improve services, the manifesto warns.

‘In-year budget cuts create real difficulties for CCGs to plan local allocations of resource to fund population health improvement,’ it claims.

The manifesto is split into eight ‘critical asks’, calling for greater investment in CCGs from the NHS, an increase in the freedom of clinical commissioners and financial incentives to allow a continuation of NHS reforms.

Dr Amanda Doyle, co-chairwoman of the NHSCC leadership group called for politicians to stay true to the 2011 NHS reforms and empower CCGs.

‘The intention of the NHS reforms was to put local clinical experts at the heart of local decision making. We want politicians to trust in those original ambitions and give clinicians the freedom and space to work with their local community to determine the best outcomes for their patients,’ she said.

Wider CCG role

The manifesto will also look to increase CCGs’ role to include national commissioning and make them ‘strategic drivers’ in commissioning out-of-hospital and non-specialised care.

Dr Steve Kell, co-chairman of the NHSCC leadership group, said: ‘If we are going to transform services locally for the benefit of patients, CCGs must be at the centre of decision making because they hold those vital relationships at the local level which are the key to truly unlocking change.’

The NHSCC manifesto says CCGs are making headway in tackling NHS financial problems and coping with the ageing population.

‘CCGs are already securing demonstrable advances in service quality and care pathways that are improving outcomes for patients, local populations and saving money,’ it says. ‘While relatively young organisations, they have strong ambition to achieve much more.’

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