They shift power away from central government and the Department of Health to clinicians – particualrly GPs – patients and local people.
Clinical commissioning groups
Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are statutory public bodies with various legal requirements and are responsible for commissioning most NHS services, including:
- planned hospital care
- rehabilitative care
- urgent and emergency care (including out-of-hours)
- most community health services
- mental health and learning disability services.
The NHS Confederation, in partnership with the NHS Alliance and the National Association of Primary Care, has set up NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC), a membership service that gives clinical commissioners a strong, independent, collective voice.
NHS England (formerly known as the NHS Commissioning Board) is an independent statutory authority with responsibility for commissioning primary care services and certain specialist services.
It has oversight of clinical commissioning groups, including their funding, and hosts clinical senates and clinical networks to advise both NHS England and CCGs on commissioning decisions.
It will hold them to account for the health outcomes they achieve and their use of public resources.
NHS England will calculate practice-level budgets and allocate these resources directly to the CCGs.
The Health and Social Care Act 2012 reiterates local authorities’ duty to promote the health of their population and sets out a number of new responsibilities, specifically to:
- lead the development of joint strategic needs assessments and joint health and wellbeing strategies through the new health and wellbeing boards.
- ring-fenced funding for public health
- employ directors of public health
- provide a small number of mandatory services, including public health advice to NHS commissioners.