As some of you will know, the CCG is made up of a group of GPs who are responsible for the planning and design of local health services. We do this by ‘commissioning’ or buying health care services such as planned hospital care, urgent and emergency care, rehabilitation care and community health services as well as mental health and learning disability services.
At the moment we don’t have responsibility for the services GPs themselves provide, unlike the Primary Care Trusts that CCGs replaced. That responsibility lies with the national body NHS England.
However, NHS England has asked all CCGs if they’d be interested in having some role in commissioning GP services so we – in common with the other West Yorkshire CCGs – have said we would be interested.
New powers could include a wide spectrum of activity: for example, the assessment of needs, decision-making on strategic priorities with Health and Wellbeing Boards, designing and negotiating local contracts, managing financial resources, and monitoring contractual performance.
We see this as an opportunity to support existing efforts to improve the quality of care in local practices and cut health inequalities. As we move forward with plans to provide much more care in people’s homes or closer to home, being able to take a more holistic approach to the commissioning of community-based services could make a real difference to patient care.
We broadly welcome the move to empower local clinicians to redesign out-of-hospital care and we look forward to hearing more about NHS England’s ideas for co-commissioning in the future.
I’ll keep you posted.