CCGs hungry to move towards collaborative care models in 2017-18

The majority of CCGs in England are embracing change and intend to contract for a new care model this year, NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC) has today stated.

Research undertaken by the organisation also sets out the long-term vision for commissioning groups and argues for what changes need to be implemented to reach targets at pace.

Called ‘Steering towards strategic commissioning’, the report states that the sector needs to retain its purchasing function and remain accountable to the local population.

It also recommended for commissioning to be clinically led and operate at a scale larger than a CCG footprint in order to support strategic ambitions in the future.

As part of NHSCC’s analysis, it interviewed CCG leads across England and found that most were embracing change, with 77% of respondents intending to contract for a new care model in 2017-18  and 72% planning on increasing their collaborative commissioning.

“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,” said NHSCC co-chair, Dr Amanda Doyle.

“Our analysis today reinforces the message that through these changes strong clinical leadership in commissioning must be preserved to ensure its credibility.”

The study also set out the four ways the commissioning landscape is developing. CCGs are operating in larger footprints as STPs are increasingly used as a key vehicle for delivery; healthcare commissioning is being integrated with local authorities; and accountable care systems (ACSs) are being developed along with integrated delivery models such as accountable care organisations (ACOs).

But the study also pointed out a number of areas that could pose a real challenge for commissioners.

“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,” NHSCC co-chair Dr Graham Jackson explained.

“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 Dr Jackson’s asks includes sharing best practice, something which more than 90% of commissioners said they are actively looking to do as part of new care models.

Other recommendations include for stronger national clarity on the direction of travel, support for commissioning leaders to manage change, and an improved regulatory framework, that is one system, mirroring the situation with ACOs and ACSs.

Top Image: Cecile Arcurs

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