A major transformation of the NHS
The Health and Social Care Bill 2010, now the Health and Social Care Act 2012, describes a major transformation of the NHS, setting out how the government will:
- put patients at the heart of everything the NHS does
- improve outcomes of healthcare
- empower and liberate clinicians to innovate, with the freedom to focus on improving healthcare services.
Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs)
As part of these changes to the NHS, there will be a new system for commissioning healthcare services in the north east – with clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) leading the commissioning decisions for their local communities. From April 2013, CCGs will become statutory public bodies, with powers and responsibilities set out in legislation, taking over from exisiting primary care trusts (PCTs) which will be abolished. Every GP practice is required to belong to a CCG, which will commission most services on behalf of patients, including:
- planned hospital care
- rehabilitative care
- urgent and emergency care (including out of hours)
- most community health services
- mental health and learning disability services.
A new national NHS Commissioning Board will authorise CCGs to operate and then hold them to account for the health outcomes that they achieve and for their use of public resources. The NHS Commissioning Board will calculate practice level budgets and allocate these resources directly to CCGs. The NHS Commissioning Board will be an independent statutory authority, accountable to the Secretary of State for Health for:
- managing the overall commissioning revenue limit
- delivering improvements measured on health outcomes.
CCGs in the north east
By March 2012, the12 emerging CCGs covering the north east were confirmed as follows:
NHS North of Tyne area:
- Nothumberland CCG
- North Tyneside CCG
- Newcastle North and East CCG
- Newcastle West CCG
NHS South of Tyne and Wear area:
- Gateshead CCG
- South Tyneside CCG
- Sunderland CCG
NHS County Durham and Darlington area:
- North Durham CCG
- Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefeld CCG
- Darlington CCG
NHS Tees area:
- Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees CCG
- South Tees CCG
Al 12 emerging CCGs are now following a critical path towards applying to the NHS Commissioning Board from July 2012 to be established and authorised.
Key documents for north east CCGs
Since 2010, extensive work has taken place across the north east NHS to develop emerging CCGs and to test new comissioning arrangements before CCGs take on statutory accountabilities from April 2013. A series of briefings have also recently been developed by NHS North of England, to help support CCGs as they 'get ready for 2013' (see introductory letter and key documents right).
These briefings cover a range of policy and service areas which CCGs will inherit responsibilities for, outlining the work to date, issues that exist, as well as signposting other sources of information and key contacts. Much of what is described in the briefings is regional good commissioning practice. This will be useful for CCGs on their journey to authorisation, but should also be seen as a useful tool to ensure high quality commissioning and improve outcomes for patients beyond the authorisation process.
Briefings will be updated with any changes and further briefings will be made available in coming weeks. Comments are welcomed on the content and the SHA staff identified in each briefing are available for discussion.
Commissioning support service
Commissioning support plans also form a key part of the authorisation process for CCGs and in the north east a single commissioning support service (CSS) is being developed. As with all such services across the country, the CSS in the north east prepared a prospectus in December 2011 to describe the support offer to emerging CCGs. A full business plan will be developed by August 2012 which is required for the CSS to be hosted by the NHS Commissioning Board. For more information about the NHS Commissioning Board www.commissioningboard.nhs.uk.