Response to the Public Accounts Committee’s inquiry into Clinical Commissioning Groups

We submitted written evidence to the Public Accounts Committee’s inquiry into clinical commissioning groups, which was called after the National Audit Office report ‘A review of the role and costs of clinical commissioning groups’ was published in December. The inquiry sought to explore ongoing funding pressures on CCGs, as well as the current and future role of CCGs.

In our written evidence submission, we highlighted that:

  • Clinical commissioning is an essential feature of the NHS in England. CCGs successfully respond to the needs of their populations, engage with their local clinicians, and steward the limited NHS pound to deliver improved health outcomes.
  • The vast majority of CCGs are performing well. As the National Audit Office notes, CCG performance (both financially and according to the CCG Improvement and Assessment Framework) does vary – but this reflects both the wider pressures on the NHS and often historic difficulties in local health economies.
  • CCGs are doing more for less – their role has been changing since they were formed, and the amount they spend on their running costs has decreased.
  • The NHS landscape is evolving and the role of clinical commissioners must be at its heart. Retaining a clinical commissioning function in emerging systems (ICS and STPs) and at the more local ‘place’ level will be crucial.
  • Our members have flagged that there are some potential barriers to achieving integration of health services. We believe there are several ways these could be addressed to facilitate further collaborative working between commissioners and providers in a local area, thereby creating a better service for their patients.

You can read our full response here.

Further to our written submission, NHSCC’s Chief Executive, Julie Wood, provided oral evidence to the committee in a panel alongside Dr Paul Johnson, Clinical Chair of South Devon and Torbay CCG, Jane Milligan, Accountable Officer of North East London Commissioning Alliance, and Dr Mark Rickets, Chair of City and Hackney CCG.

You can view a transcript of the oral evidence session here.

16 January 2019