Chairman of NHS Clinical Commissioners Dr Charles Alessi warned that the government is planning to impose new targets on CCGs, which risks destabilising them.
The DH has consulted on changing the NHS mandate to include ‘highly prescriptive targets’, which Dr Alessi says CCGs will not be able to deliver.
The mandate issued last year included broad requirements for NHS England to cut health inequalities, integrating care and delivering savings under the improvement, productivity and prevention (QIPP) savings programme.
Dr Alessi said: ‘The initial, original mandate in 2012 was positive and gave CCGs the space and headroom they need to make commissioning decisions according to the needs of their local populations.
‘The refreshed mandate does not live up to these values and seems to have lost sight of the fact that many objectives have shared responsibilities which need to be worked through locally. For CCGs any changes as part of a "refresh" should be kept to a minimum in order maintain stability in the system and allow commissioners to plan with their local partners on a multi-year basis.
‘Our members have highlighted that many of the updates proposed in the refresh have not been costed for 2014/15 budgets and so pose serious financial risk to CCGs going forward. CCGs will be unsustainable if they are required to deliver a mandate that has an annual refresh without any costed plans. Local commissioners are already working to very tight, top sliced budgets and face reduced operating costs.
‘We contend that that the DH must cost any new proposals and if the mandate places additional expectations on CCGs the department identifies the sources of the required funding.
‘While we recognise it is the first refresh of its kind and it has to reflect relevant changes in the wider policy context, we have significant concerns about its timing, purpose and aims in comparison to the original mandate.’
A DH spokeswoman was unavailable to comment.