“The 2015/16 CCG assessment results demonstrate that there is a lot of good practice taking place across the country despite the fact that CCGs are operating in a challenging system and set of circumstances. However they do also show where improvement and support is needed, and reinforce the fact that commissioners, like their provider colleagues, are in some places struggling to meet the high standards that patients and populations deserve. The scores in many cases reflect the difficult financial position that CCGs, like the rest of the system are in, due to constraints on their budgets and spiralling demand for services. Tough decisions will need to be made by commissioners and providers to address this, which in many cases will require support from the centre as well as an honest conversation about what the NHS can and cannot be expected to deliver.
“Now that the results are out it is important that the next steps happen quickly and involve both learning from CCGs who have done well, and meaningful support being provided to those for which it is necessary. This cannot involve a one size fits all approach – the support or direction must take account of the circumstances of the individual CCG and the needs of the local area it serves.”
“Clinical commissioners are determined to achieve the best possible healthcare for their patients and local populations and it is right that we are held to account and the public has the right to know how its money is being spent and how its local CCG is performing. We have worked closely with NHS England to develop the new CCG Improvement and Assessment Framework (IAF), which will build on these latest set of results, and make sure that ongoing assessment and assurance of CCGs is robust and fair. It is vital that the metrics and data are ones that support the drive to improving the quality of care for patients and it is essential that this new framework is used in a way that helps them to realise this ambition.
“The new IAF gives a commitment to team-working between NHS England regional teams and CCGs which we welcome. We know from our members that while in some areas there are already constructive relationships, the new framework should encourage a more positive culture across whole systems and at a place level, something that is essential if CCGs and their provider partners are to be enabled to deliver a healthier future for their local people. Through putting clinical leadership at the heart of local healthcare commissioning CCGs have already brought significant benefits for local patients and populations – we must make sure that we do not lose this or the NHS will be much poorer for it.”
“The financial measures announced today really show the strains being felt across the whole of the health system. Both commissioners and providers alike are facing multiple challenges, including increasing demand for services and additional expectations being placed on them by the centre to deliver more at pace – this has had a direct knock-on effect for CCGs finances where, for the first time many more CCGs are struggling to balance the books. The decline in CCG finances is something we have previously given warnings on, with the allocative growth in the 2016/17 funding cycle having already being committed to existing or announced projects or funding streams.
“The simple truth is there is no spare money in the system – we urgently need a cross-governmental review into the overall financial position of the NHS and an open debate about what can be realistically delivered with the current level of funding.”
21 July 2016