CCG ratings show clear improvement in challenging circumstances

At today’s NHS England board meeting Matthew Swindells, National Director of Operations & Information, presented the latest CCG Improvement and Assessment Framework results which shows a year on year improvement. The full results are available on My NHS and include the overall scores, as well as those specifically focusing on cancer, mental health and dementia – three of the six clinical priority areas.

julie-wood_websiteResponding to this, NHS Clinical Commissioners chief executive Julie Wood said:

“The results today demonstrate that there is a lot of excellent work taking place in CCGs across the country. The clear improvement shown in the scores of so many CCGs, despite the incredibly challenging circumstances that they are facing, reflects the hard work taking place and the determination of clinical commissioners to make a positive difference for their patients and populations. With the CCG Improvement and Assessment Framework covering a wide range of indicators, including six priority clinical areas among these mental health, cancer and dementia, it is clear to see that CCGs are making a positive impact on their patients and populations’ health and wellbeing.

“The scores do also highlight that there are cases where improvement is needed and CCGs need more support to make sure that they are able to give their populations the high-quality services that they are striving to provide. They are working in a tough environment, with spiralling demand and a myriad of competing priorities on their stretched budget, among these mental health, general practice and urgent and emergency care. Our recent analysis has shown that as matters stand rising inflation and a growing population mean that their budgets are set to shrink further over the coming years. This combined with factors such as the huge decrease anticipated in public health spending, means increasingly hard decisions will have to be made by clinical commissioners to address this. To make sure that they are able to deliver more for their patients, CCGs will need support from the centre on areas identified as need improvement – but beyond that, they and their partners across the health and care system, need there to be an honest conversation about what the NHS can realistically deliver with the funds it has.”

Responding specifically to the announcements on the 2016/17 CCG assessment results for cancer, Julie continued:

“There has been a huge increase in the number of CCG areas rated as outstanding or good when it comes to the delivery of cancer services, a significant achievement in given the circumstances in which CCGs are operating. The CCG Improvement and Assessment Framework looks at a combination of four indicators, relating to early diagnosis, time to treatment, one year survival rate and patient experience. This means today’s scores will also provide useful information for CCGs on identifying where they can improve further, as well as supporting them to track their progress. Our members are determined to do even more and continue to see improving early diagnosis and treatment for their patients and populations as an absolute priority.”

Phil Moore 20160428Responding to the ratings for mental health and dementia, Dr Phil Moore, chair of NHSCC’s Mental Health Commissioners Network and deputy chair of NHS Kingston CCG said:

“Despite the plethora of challenges facing CCGs, today’s results show that nationally they are making good progress when it comes to improving mental healthcare. Clinical commissioners are striving to make sure that the populations we serve receive high-quality healthcare and are striving to prioritise mental health and care amidst the huge pressures in the NHS. With CCGs being led by GPs and other clinicians, we know all too well the impact that poor mental health has on our populations and the patients we care for and are determined to improve it. The results today show that we are going in the right direction in reversing the years of neglect that mental healthcare has faced. There is of course much more to be done, and the framework will be helpful when it comes to measuring our progress and supporting CCGs to focus on areas that need improvement so we can ensure that the right services are being put in place for our populations.

“Equally dementia comes with major challenges. This year the definition of the populations served by CCGs for this indicator have changed which has altered the figures for some CCGs substantially and in both directions. Nonetheless, there is encouraging progress overall, though still a very long way to go. And let’s not forget that this is just about the diagnosis rates. Just as important are the services each CCG has in place for those suffering from dementia and their friends and families, and the way they are engaging with their local authorities and communities to encourage understanding and inclusion of dementia sufferers.”

21 July 2017