CCGs could commission primary care services, says DoH

Commissioning of primary care is likely to be carried out by local outposts of the NHS Commissioning Board but clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) could take on the responsibility, the DoH's commissioning czar has said.

Dame Barbara: trying to understand how CCGs could support the NCB in commissioning primary care services
Dame Barbara: trying to understand how CCGs could support the NCB in commissioning primary care services
In a live DoH webchat, Dame Barbara Hakin said the responsibility for primary care commissioning rests with the NHS Commissioning Board (NCB).

But she said because commissioning of primary care services requires local knowledge and relationships it is likely that many of the board’s outposts will carry out the function.

Dame Barbara added that the DoH is also working with pathfinders to try to understand how CCGs could support the NCB in this role.

She said: ‘It is possible we could consider delegated authority [to CCGs] but only where the governance arrangements were really sound.’

Meanwhile, Dame Barbara said CCGs should be beginning to work out how they can make a ‘real difference to patients’ rather than just focusing on systems and structures.

She said CCGs said must start developing relationships locally, particularly with local providers and local authorities
She said: ‘Whilst I understand the desire to press ahead with systems and structures I think it is really important that CCGs start to work with their practices and other key stakeholders to begin to define what they really want to do, the unique contribution they can bring and how they can make a real difference for patients.’

Dame Barbara also said CCGs will need to draw on a ‘broad range of advice’ when commissioning, including consulting public health experts and patients locally.

She said: ‘Whilst I am sure everyone has always been committed to patient and public engagement I am not sure we have done this really well in most places.

‘A key plank of the reform is to involve patients and the public more. GP practices at the heart of CCGs should be better able to reach their patients and local population.’

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