Clinicians serving 42 million people in England have now been given the go-ahead to make decisions on the delivery of local national health services, after the third wave of clinical commissioning groups (CCG) were authorised.

The National Health Service Commissioning Board (NHSCB) has issued a green light for 62 more CCGs to plan and purchase health services for their local communities, bringing the total number approved to 163.

Six of these managed to sail through the process and win authorisation without conditions, but the majority failed to meet all 119 criteria for independent operation and so will need some sort of formal help to ensure they reach the standards required.

Five CCGs - NHS Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG; NHS Newham CCG; NHS Herefordshire CCG; NHS Scarborough and Ryedale CCG; and NHS Vale of York CCG - have been identified as needing "more intensive support" in controlling their commissioning budgets, which will be provided by the NHSCB and will be "underpinned by legal directions", the Board stressed.

The remaining 48 CCGs are set for authorisation in March so that, from April, a total of 211 CCGs will be responsible for £65 billion of the NHS' £95 billion commissioning budget, in a new system that killed off primary care trusts (PCT) and devolved power from Whitehall to the front line.

According to Dame Barbara Hakin, National Director of the NHSCB, "the majority of CCGs are now authorised and up-and-running and we are moving at pace towards a clinically-led NHS that is focused on delivering improved health outcomes, quality, patient safety, innovation and public participation.”

Alistair Blair, chief clinical officer for NHS Northumberland CCG, told The Berwick Advertiser that taking over from current commissioners "will be a real challenge",  but stressed "we're well placed to carry out our new responsibilities and to make changes to support the further health improvement of local people".

And Peter Wilczynski, clinical chairman of NHS Corby CCG, told local publication Northampton Herald & Post that “there will be difficult decisions to be made - we have a tough financial climate, our hospital services are under a lot pressure, and in Corby we have an ageing population. These can’t be ignored". 

CCGs and industry go speed dating

With efficiency savings of £20 billion to be made, it is vital that all stakeholders in health forge closer working relationships to realise QIPP without compromising on quality and deliver better patient-centred disease management.

To that end, PharmaTimes and Visions4Health have launched a special one-day speed dating event to bring together CCGs and NHS providers with qualified healthcare industry stakeholders, including pharmaceutical companies, telehealth/technology organisations, home healthcare organisations, diagnostics, devices and data providers.

On the day, the meeting will run in four parallel streams, with NHS partners outlining their partnership projects before taking a Q&A and then ‘speed dating’ with industry stakeholders. Click here if you want to know more.

The event is also being combined with PharmaTimes Partnerships in Health competition and awards, which will recognise the best existing partnership projects - both current and in development - between the pharmaceutical industry and the NHS.