NHSCC launch new report to support CCGs in making difficult decisions

NHS Clinical Commissioners has today launched a new publication to support CCGs in making difficult decisions about prioritisation of resources and changes to local services. This comes at a time when the NHS is going through a period of major change to achieve long-term sustainability and transformation making potentially hard choices increasingly inevitable.

Produced in collaboration with the University of Birmingham, ‘Making Difficult Decisions’ sets out factors that can enable CCGs to successfully command the confidence of the public, patients, local politicians and other key stakeholders when making changes. It draws on both academic research and practical insight from commissioners, patient groups and NHS England. 

Amanda-DoyleDr Amanda Doyle, NHS Clinical Commissioners Co-Chair and Chief Clinical Officer of NHS Blackpool CCG said: “Clinical commissioners have always had to make tough decisions and prioritise how finite resources are allocated while maintaining a fair and accessible healthcare system. With increasing financial pressures, spiralling demand and a drive to achieve long-term sustainability and transformation this is now more the case than ever. This new report draws on research and the practical experience of commissioners to bring together the factors that can enable difficult decisions to be made and seen through while commanding confidence of patients and the public.”

Graham-JacksonFellow NHS Clinical Commissioners Co-Chair and Chair of NHS Aylesbury Vale CCG Dr Graham Jackson said: “Patients and the public are understandably concerned about what change and financial pressure in the NHS means for the services they may rely on and have come to expect. It is often the case that change is necessary to deliver a better service, rather than just being synonymous with cuts, but it is clear from recent news stories and public campaigns that this frequently isn’t what comes across. We need to make sure that our reasons for seeking to do things differently are fully understood by all, and part of the way we do this is through engaging with all our stakeholders right from the start, one of the key messages of ‘Making Difficult Decisions’.”

Dr Iestyn Williams, Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham said: “As with all local decision-makers, clinical commissioners are faced with the task of making decisions that balance the interests of a variety of stakeholders, dealing with imperfect evidence, and working through sometimes imperfect implementation channels – and doing all of this in an extremely challenging financial climate.  We are delighted to have worked with NHSCC to support the development of some top tips for clinical commissioners when faced with making these challenging decisions. These draw on research that my colleagues and I have conducted recently as well as some practical insights from CCGs.”

mdd_clip‘Making Difficult Decisions: Commissioning healthcare in times of change’ contains top tips drawn from academic research and additional insight from those interviewed during the report, including commissioners, patient groups and NHS England. These are:

  • Identify opportunities for improvement and safe and cost-effective change in service provision.
  • Plan the change management process in advance.
  • Base decision-making on robust data where available.
  • Manage stakeholder perceptions through active engagement, consultation and nurturing trustworthy relationships.
  • Recognise that local community, clinician and political support is vital, and engage these interests early.
  • Develop an integrated communication and engagement strategy from the start

Read Making Difficult Decisions.

28 September 2016