Third of CCGs ready for full primary care commissioning role

Around one in three CCGs is ready or nearly ready to take on full delegated control of primary care commissioning, NHS England's area teams believe.

Dame Barbara: Many CCGs ready to take on primary medical commissioning (Pic: Pete Hill)
Dame Barbara: Many CCGs ready to take on primary medical commissioning (Pic: Pete Hill)

Board papers released last week by NHS England revealed that 196 out of England’s 211 CCGs had bid to take on co-commissioning of primary care.

At a board meeting on 3 July, NHS England’s chief operating officer Dame Barbara Hakin said that of this 196, 74 had bid to take full delegated authority for ‘some aspects of primary medical commissioning’.

This option – described as ‘category C’ co-commissioning, is likely to mean they would take over budgets from area teams and take the lead on primary care commissioning.

‘The area teams’ early assessment is that about 20 would be ready now,’ Dame Barbara told the board.

‘Forty-five will be ready soon and a further 9 later.’

Categories of co-commissioning

Dame Barbara said 110 CCGs had bid for category B co-commissioning, which involves setting up joint committees with an NHS England area team to share primary care commissioning responsibility.

A further 19 opted for category A co-commissioning roles, meaning they will have ‘influence’ but not take the lead in shaping primary care locally.

Dame Barbara told the board meeting: ‘We will be looking particularly at those expressions of interest that include delegated authority.

‘We will need to test every single one of those and make sure that where they are making decisions about GP services, conflicts of interest are covered.’

CCG response is enthusiastic

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: ‘We are very pleased about the enthusiasm this has been greeted with.

‘We propose taking a permissive approach – it doesn’t have to be the same everywhere, but there needs to be very strong governance.’

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said handing CCGs control of primary care budgets meant it was ‘inevitable they will start to look like PCTs very quickly’.

‘We do have concerns and we have voiced those concerns repeatedly,’ he told GP.

‘Practices want to know that those who are leading the CCG will not be favouring their own practice or adversely reviewing pratices with whom they have had a breakdown in relationships.’

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