CCGs air views in first major survey

NHS Clinical Commissioners have released the largely positive results of the first major organisational survey since the inception of CCGs.

 Results of the survey, which spoke to nearly 300 key CCG members on their experience of working with the NHS, were largely encouraging, but highlighted the commissioning of primary care and other specialised services as key areas of concern.

The survey conducted by the NHS Clinical Commissioners is the first since CCGs came into being in April 2013, speaking to 272 chairs, chief officers, and chief finance officers across the country about their experience of working with the NHS.

CCG leaders reported that working with the NHS was a largely positive experience, with most feeling the national organisation provided the correct support and assurance, and more than half reporting effective working relationships with their Area Team.

A major area of concern, however, was the commissioning of primary care, with over half the respondents saying the NHS did not work effectively with them in this regard, prompting calls for the responsibility of primary care services to sit with the CCGs.

In a letter sent to Sir Malcolm Grant, chair of NHS England, the NHS Clinical Commissioners outlined the views of the CCG leaders in regards to primary care, urging the government to “support such a change and ensure that CCGs are given both the responsibility and the resources they need” to take control of primary care commissioning.

The commissioning of primary care is a hot topic in the industry, with Lord Howe suggesting in a recent House of Lords debate that the Department of Health was investigating ways of making “the whole process of commissioning primary care more creative”, a change that “could well involve a joint a process by NHS England and CCGs.”

Another area highlighted by the NHS Clinical Commissioners in the post-survey letter was the commissioning of specialist services, suggesting that the commissioning structure needed to be “better joined up” after more than half of respondents said they didn’t believe the NHS worked effectively with them in this area.

Ros Roughton, NHS England’s national director of commissioning, responded to the survey results by praising the largely positive feedback, promising to use the findings in the ongoing organisational and policy development.