Clinical commissioners are playing a key role as architects of the changing health and care landscape, an analysis launched today shows. The new publication from NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC) sets out CCGs’ vision for the future and what they need to get there at pace so they can deliver more for patients.
Steering towards strategic commissioning, shows there is a strong belief that healthcare commissioning must continue to be clinically led, operate at a scale larger than a CCG footprint, retain its purchasing function and remain accountable to the local population.
The analysis, which was informed by a survey and interviews with CCG leaders1, shows that CCGs are embracing change, with 77 per cent of those surveyed intending to contract for a new care model in 2017/18, and 72 per cent planning on increasing their collaborative commissioning.
NHSCC co-chair Dr Amanda Doyle said: “CCGs are leading transformation in their local area and are absolutely seeing strategic commissioning as the future destination which will bring about better care for patients. Our analysis today reinforces the message that through these changes strong clinical leadership in commissioning must be preserved to ensure its credibility.”
The four main ways in which the landscape is developing are:
- CCGs operating across larger footprints as strategic health commissioners using STPs as a key vehicle for delivery;
- integration of healthcare commissioning with local authorities;
- developing an accountable care system;
- developing integrated delivery models such as accountable care organisations.
The analysis reveals a number of challenges that CCG leaders are facing as the system evolves. To tackle these and support CCGs in the future commissioning landscape NHSCC has identified six asks for national stakeholders.
NHSCC co-chair Dr Graham Jackson said “CCG leaders are agreed that moving towards a more strategic integrated commissioning function is the right way forward to ensure that the populations we serve are provided with the best possible services within the resources allocated. However, we are seeing some potentially significant risks that could slow this down. Among these are a lack of clarity in the national direction and low confidence in regulators being able to match the pace of transformation. This is why NHSCC has made a series of asks today, which will support CCGs to make further progress in developing new models of care and increase collaboration for the benefit of our patients.”
One of these asks is around increasing sharing of best practice, with a very clear appetite for this with more than 90 per cent of those surveyed actively looking for early lessons from the new care models.
The other key asks identified are:
- National clarity on the direction of travel
- Support for clinical commissioning leaders to manage change
- Time, resource and space to transform
- Support with capabilities to support strategic commissioning, with key skills and tools needed identified as data gathering and analysis, predictive modelling, succession planning and organisational development.
- An improved regulatory framework, that is one system, mirroring the situation on the ground with the development of ACOs and ACSs.