CCG running cost allowance change raises GPC concerns

Changes to the running cost allowances for clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) will pose problems for commissioners who need 'absolute clarity' over funding, the GPC has warned.

CCG funding is now based on different population estimates

GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul said that the changes to running costs allowances, which mean that 90 CCGs will receive less money than they have planned for, showed that the timetable for the NHS reforms was extremely short and rushed.

This month, the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB) revised the running cost allowances for the 211 shadow CCGs. Running costs are still centred on a £25-per-head figure but are now based on different population estimates.

Running costs will now be based on the Office for National Statistics’ population estimates in September. The September estimates showed an increase from the 2011 census projections to the English population from 53.4m to 53.8m.

The revisions mean that 90 CCGs will see a reduction in their running cost allowances, 115 will see an increase and for six it will remain the same, as the estimates they were given in May.

The NCB said that this had led to the total budget for CCG running costs rising by £10.5m per year to £1.34bn. It said that most CCGs would receive a higher running cost allowance under the new arrangements but that there were some areas where there had been a reduction in the projected population, meaning CCGs would receive less money.

Dr Nagpaul said: ‘There should be absolute clarity at this stage. There is still no clarity around GP IT. We have always felt that the timetable for the changes were extremely short and felt rushed.’

An NHSCB spokeswoman said: ‘The publication of the 2013 population estimates has enabled us to provide a revised, up-to-date set of running costs for CCGs, which ensures they are as accurate as possible and that there is the maximum degree of consistency and fairness nationally. The figures will continue to be revised each year as the ONS revises its population estimates for the following year.

‘CCGs were informed in May that the figures published were indicative and subject to change. The majority of CCGs have actually seen an increase in their projected populations, so as a result will receive a larger running cost allowance than they may have anticipated. In some areas, projected population has decreased, so it is only right that their allowance reflects this.’

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