New groups for specialised commissioning

 New Clinical Reference Groups (CRGs) have been established to deliver contracts for specialised healthcare services worth £7.5bn during 2012/13.

As a resource for the NHS Commissioning Board, the CRGs will develop and approve contracts for dentistry, maternity, community pharmacy and ophthalmic services for 2013/14 and beyond.

Originally designed for contract assurance, the CRGs will now lead the development of specialised commissioning during the transition year and provide strategic and clinical advice beyond that.

Each CRG will have a ‘core’ set of products to develop in 2012/13, and will develop these products for the Board as directly commissioned services ready for 2013/14 contract inclusion.

With 13–21 members, each group will include a Chair, a Public Health Lead, a Commissioner Lead, eight Sector Clinicians and two PPE representatives, as well as additional clinical members and people from related organisations.

The Chair will be a clinical leader in the field of the identified service with experience as a clinical director, network director, medical director or professional body leader, and will provide clinical leadership to the CRG.