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CCG authorisations: conditions not ‘negative’


22 February 2013

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More than 90% of CCGs authorised in wave 3 have conditions, but GP leaders do not believe this is a “negative” sign. 

More than 90% of CCGs authorised in wave 3 have conditions, but GP leaders do not believe this is a “negative” sign. 

Three quarters of the clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) authorised in wave one had conditions, as did 71% of CCGs authorised in wave two. 
‘Different world’
Dr Charles Alessi believes the hike in CCGs with conditions is because we are in a “different world than before”.
The National Association for Primary Care (NACP) and NHS Clinical Commissioners chair told The Commissioning Review: “The bar keeps changing. 
“If primary care trusts were to be examined now I’d suggest many of them would not be up to the job.”
He added that the Francis report is only part of the story and that throughout the healthcare system “new attributes are required”. 
CCGs are only authorised after experts have ensured it is “safe and effective” through interviews, site visits and work assessments, according the to NHS Commissioning Board. 
“We are moving at pace towards a clinically-led NHS that is focused on delivering improved health outcomes, quality, patient safety, innovation and public participation,” said Dame Barbara Hakin, Commissioning Board national director. 
Tried and tested
None of the wave one CCGs authorised in December 2012 needed intensive support, otherwise known as ‘directions’. 
In wave two 4% needed directions, and that percentage doubled for wave three. 
Directions allow the NHS Commissioning Board to “legally formalise” the support, and direct the CCG to follow through with specific tasks. 
“It’s not a bad thing that these organisations have been given conditions,” said Dr Joe McGilligan, chairman of East Surrey CCG, adding, “They just have to be tried and tested before they can take on full responsibilities.
“The conditions are there to prove that the CCGs can do the job.” 
Dr McGilligan told The Commissioning Review he not believe that having conditions is inherently negative for a CCG. 
He said: “Conditions just shine a light on the blind spots, making these new organisations credible.” 
Concerns
However, Dr Alessi said he would be concerned if CCGs were given intensive assistance by the NHS Commissioning Board for more than six months. 
“To me it would mean that the assistance is not reaching the places it should. Assistance is not meant to be forever,” he said. 
Out of the 163 CCGs authorised so far 130 have been authorised with conditions, or close to 80%. 
The NHS Commissioning Board said it is working to ensure the support is “tailored and coordinated”. 
“The NHS Commissioning Board has area teams working across the whole of England which will be able to offer local support,” said Dame Barbara Hakin. 
She added: “The area teams will coordinate any additional support from within the NHS Commissioning Board itself, or externally where appropriate.” 
The NHS Commissioning Board told The Commissioning Review all CCGs will have their conditions reviewed quarterly, starting in March. 
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