Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) must become "demolition experts" in order to lay the foundations for long-lasting change in the National Health Service, NHS Alliance chair Michael Dixon has told delegates at the group's annual conference.

The first task for commissioners is to redesign local services, but in order to do this they must effectively dismantle the blights and the red-tape that strangled the previous system to open the door for the new order and better outcomes for patients, he said.

Realising the potential of the NHS reforms will mean "reigniting the altruism that lies beneath the skin of every clinician" to help engineer a new relationship between the NHS and patients. 

And to best navigate the challenges it faces, the NHS must become more than just a service, it must become a partnership, to "maximise the co-prodiction of clinicians and patients".

The NHS, Dixon argues, should be a system "with clinical commissioners, health and wellbeing boards and those at the heart of delivery being catalysts of health on every street corner, in every supermarket, in every inner city, estate and village.

Only then can we begin to reach the holy grail of health generating communities, he claims.

Dixon also applauded the NHS Commissioning Board's recently-published "refreshing and liberating" mandate. 

"The current language of the Board is exactly right," he said, but also noted that NHS Clinical Commissioning* will be conducting an annual appraisal of the Board's performance, to ensure continued improvement and presumably a degree of external accountability.

And looking forward, he said that now commissioning is being dealt with it's time to look at service provision, "because excellent commissioning relies on excellent provision".

NHSCB publishes specialised services model

Meanwhile, the NHSCB has unveiled a new operating model for commissioning specialised services which, it hopes, will help to tackle national variation in access to them.

The new model and associated Commissioning Intentions "mark a clear move away from regional commissioning to a single national approach to both commissioning and contracting", the Board said. 

Amalgamating the current ten different systems for purchasing specialised services will help "ensure national consistency in accessing services, reduce variation, and set clear quality standards leading to better health outcomes for patients," said Ian Dalton, the NHSCB's chief operating officer and deputy chief executive.

*NHS Clinical Commissioning is a coalition between the NHS Alliance, NHS Confederation and the National Association of Primary Care providing support to CCGs.