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of primary care
CCGs’ independence and self-determination crucial for local patient-centred NHS
14 December 2011
CCG configuration should not be imposed on the back of speculation around management allowance, urges the Clinical Commissioning Coalition.
Following recent press coverage that Clinical Commissioning Groups would have to be a certain size to be able to commission independently, the Clinical Commissioning Coalition is calling on GP leaders to support CCGs’ independence to make their own decisions in terms of the population they cover and commissioning support.
The Coalition, which was set up by the National Association of Primary Care and the NHS Alliance, argues that CCG configuration will depend on a range of local factors and that there is not an ideal size that would suit CCGs across the whole country.
Dr Johnny Marshall, a leading member of the Coalition, commented: “CCGs should determine their own size and configuration. The purpose is to create genuine practice engagement with appropriate support. One size never has and never will fit all situations”, Dr Marshall continued, “and to suggest that it does is setting up CCGs to fail. There is a danger that CCGs will, through imposed solutions, hit the £25 or another target and miss the point, which is to improve the health of local populations in a financially sustainable way. We, in the Coalition, are determined to fight this issue until we have as a satisfactory outcome.”
Dr Michael Dixon, also a leading member of the Coalition, said: “CCGs are about local ownership of health care. Their size will depend on geography and local connections. Although we understand concerns around the current £25 management allowance, patients come first. CCGs are there to create a health care system that focuses on local needs, is patient centred and led by clinicians.”
He added: “It is absolutely fundamental that CCGs are free to make their own decisions. It is not up to any particular organisation to dictate what CCGs should look like and the Coalition is totally committed to supporting CCGs’ independence and helping their leaders to work through any challenges that may arise.”
The Clinical Commissioning Coalition is currently working with the Department of Health to look at how small CCGs could work and in a recent paper it published recommendations of how smaller CCGs could address some of the organisational challenges they may face, including negotiating with providers, controlling management costs and establishing sound governance.
Notes to editors:
1. The National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) is a non-political, non-profit-making organisation representing and supporting the interests of all its members, both individuals and organisations working in or with primary care. It also offers support through associate membership to those bodies, which provide services to primary care or have other health-related interests. Find out more at www.napc.co.uk
2. The NHS Alliance brings together GP consortia, PCTs, clinicians and managers. We are an independent non-political membership organisation proud to be at the forefront of clinically-led commissioning. Its leaders are all dedicated professionals, who represent the Alliance’s diverse membership, working ceaselessly to meet the challenges facing the NHS today. Find out more at www.nhsalliance.org