The DH must involve CCGs in planning commissioning structure

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) must be allowed to make their own decisions on shaping NHS services and not be forced to accept decisions from 'on high', a group representing them has warned.

Dr Charles Alessi: CCGs must not be forced to accept diktat from on high
Dr Charles Alessi: CCGs must not be forced to accept diktat from on high

NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC), an independent body representing CCGs, has called on the DH to better involve CCGs in shaping the emerging commissioning system.

It said CCGs must be involved in the design of the new system in order to change the way care is planned and provided, and improve the health outcomes of local communities.

Interim NHSCC chairman Dr Charles Alessi said: ‘CCGs need to be engaged in shaping the commissioning system of the future. These are extremely challenging times for these new organisations and it is essential they have a say in the way the new system should be structured and delivered.’

Dr Alessi added that an ‘overwhelming’ number of regulations were being created around how CCGs will work, while at the same time CCGs had to focus on authorisation.

‘CCGs need to able to fully consider what will produce the best outcomes for local communities. We need to make sure the development of the new system is by co-design and not from on high,’ Dr Alessi said.

The membership body has called on the NHS Commissioning Board to use the transitional arrangements to strengthen the infrastructure needed to deliver day-to-day commissioning responsibilities.

Interim NHSCC president Dr Michael Dixon, said: ‘We are calling on the national bodies to work with us to a proper timetable to get the key rules and commitments produced and to halt the by-passing of CCG views.

‘If we want real and lasting change to the way we commission services then we must give CCGs time to evolve, take stock of the challenges facing their areas, and map out the best path of improving care.’

NHSCC is currently taking views from its members on the implications of the NHS Commissioning Board's draft mandate and its impact on commissioners.

It will put forward these views, and the views of CCGs on wider sector regulation, to the DH later in the year.

An NCB spokeswoman said: ‘The Commissioning Board Authority is engaging on a regular basis and working closely with CCGs at all levels to develop its organisation and policies for the delivery of and support to clinical commissioning.

‘This partnership approach with CCGs is ongoing, with many structures - both formal and informal - already in place, and we are feeding in the views of CCGs into all aspects of our work as a result.’

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