Lansley promises CCGs freedom without political interference

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) will have legally backed freedoms to plan and shape services without interference from politicians, the health secretary has promised.

Mr Lansley: Mr Lansley: CCGs will be given the freedom to decide what commissioning support they need
Talking at the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) annual conference in Birmingham on Wednesday, Andrew Lansley said CCGs will be able to operate without day-to-day controls and instructions from the centre of government.

He promised that clinical senates and networks will be on hand to advise CCGs, not tell GPs what to do.

Mr Lansley also confirmed that CCGs will be handed a management allowance of between £25 and £35 per head of population.

He said as long as CCGs can demonstrate that they can function within the running cost envelope the government will ‘not stand in the way of how CCGs want to structure themselves’ , including decisions around their size and shape.

Mr Lansley also said CCGs will be given the freedom to decide what commissioning support they need. But he appeared to suggest the CCGs should look towards PCT staff for commissioning support.

He said over the past few months the government has been working with CCGs and PCTs to ‘map a way forward’ to find ways to ensure ‘the best PCT staff are retained for the future’.

Mr Lansley said: ‘You will need support for the things that require more than clinical knowledge and leadership. I know you are not accountancy experts, or contracting specialist or media managers or HR professionals.

‘You know and I know you will need those people. You know that much of this kind of expertise can be found amongst those people who currently work within PCTs.’

Mr Lansley also said the NHS Commissioning Board will also provide 'back stop' support services for CCGs over a period of around five years. He said beyond this period, these services should have been established in-house within CCGs or by offered by social enterprises or other independent companies.

Meanwhile, Mr Lansley said the government will also give CCGs all the tools they need to commission effectively, including making changes to the tariff to support integration of services.

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