England's national director of commissioning development Dame Barbara Hakin said that CCGs should not ignore practice managers and nurses if they want to succeed.
Speaking at the National Association of Primary Care conference in Birmingham this week, Dame Barbara said that it will not be possible for every practice to be involved in every CCG decision.
‘For most CCGs it is not possible for every practice to be involved in every decision, in fact I don’t think it is possible for any,' she said. 'It is absolutely essential that their members as part of their constitutions define their body, that body by which on their behalf they will expect to discharge most of the duties and functions.’
Dame Barbara said UK general practice was 'the jewel in the crown' and 'the envy of most countries in the world'.
‘Clinical commissioning gives us the opportunity to really capitalise on that unique place that general practice holds in the NHS and in the hearts of most patients and the public in England’, she said.
She said that CCGs should be putting ‘an enormous amount of time’ into ensuring that practices are engaged.
She told the conference: ‘The minute you lose that (practice engagement), you have lost your way and you have lost your opportunity to drive change and to make services better for patients through those people who are absolutely on the front line.
‘What I would say to practices is that you may not want to get into the technical side of commissioning, you may not want to be heavily involved in pathway redesign or some of the stuff you see as bureaucratic, but surely you must want to make services better for your patients.’
Dame Barbara also said the next six months would be a ‘testing time’ for all those involved in the NHS reforms.