The NHS Commissioning Board has authorised the first wave of clinical commissioning groups, but some have not met all the of the UK Government’s targets. 

Specifically, the Board has authorised 34 new organisations – called clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) – to commission healthcare services for their communities under major reform of the NHS.

These groups, which will be led by family doctors - alongside a hospital doctor and another healthcare professional - are set to replace the current primary care trust and strategic health authority management structure by April next year.

But before they take full control of around 60% of the NHS’ £95 billion annual budget, each of the 211 CCGs have to be ‘authorised’ and show that they can manage the financial and managerial responsibilities being handed down to them.

Only eight, however, have been authorised with no conditions, meaning they fully meet all 119 authorisation criteria. The remaining 26 authorised CCGs “need to continue developing so they also meet the criteria in all areas”, according to the NHS Commissioning Board, which is in charge of the CCGs.

One CCG – NHS Liverpool CCG – made significant late changes to its commissioning arrangements. In order to have full assurance of these new arrangements, the Board has agreed with the CCG that the final review should be deferred until later in the process.

The CCGs were set out in four waves over the past few months, and from next year they will plan and commission hospital, community health and mental health services on behalf of some ten million people.

Sir David Nicholson, the NHS Commissioning Board’s chief executive, said: “The creation of CCGs is a great opportunity for the NHS that will have real benefits for patients. In future, the vast majority of decisions about how we use the public’s money will be made in the community by the clinicians who are closest to the needs of the people they look after. They have the knowledge and expertise to lead the improvements in services that we all want to see. We are determined to push power to the front line where talented clinicians and their teams can make a real difference.”

Professor Azhar Farooqi, chair of NHS Leicester City CCG and a GP, said: “Coupling the knowledge and understanding of GPs and other clinicians with the insight and experience of patients is the best way to create a thriving, sustainable health community that puts patients first. It gives clinicians the opportunity to work together to genuinely make a difference to the way local services are provided, improving their quality and enabling patients to live longer, healthier lives.”