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What is a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)

Clinical Commissioning Groups are groups of GPs that from April 2013, became responsible for designing local health services in England. CCGs replace Primary Care Trusts, which ceased to exist on 31 March 2012.

They do this by commissioning or buying health and care services including:

  • Planned hospital care
  • Rehabilitation care
  • Urgent and emergency care
  • Most community health services
  • Mental health and learning disability services
  • Maternity services

Clinical Commissioning Groups work with patients and healthcare professionals in partnership with local communities and local authorities.

The announcement that GPs will take over this commissioning role was made in the 2010 White Paper, "Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS". This is part of the Government's wider desire to create a clinically driven commissioning system that is more sensitive to the needs of patients. The 2010 White Paper became law under the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

Authorisation

All CCGs had to go through an authorisation process through the NHS Commissioning Board.

Membership

All GP practices are required to be members of a CCG under the 2012 Act. The aim of this is to give GPs and other clinicians the power to influence commissioning decisions for their patients.

How does the CCG work

The CCG has a Board as its governing body, membership includes GPs, a nurse director, chief finance officer, chief officer and lay members. The Board works closely and is supported by a Council of Member Practices.

The Council of Member practices is strong and interactive, with each practice represented by a GP and Practice Manager. Council Meetings and Forums form the basic working structure for this interaction but in between meetings, key messages are co-ordinated and introduced by the Council Chair.

The CCG works in a federated arrangement with the other CCGs across the Berkshire West area (comprising North & West Reading, South Reading, Newbury & District and Wokingham). This means that all four CCGs collaborate on shared areas of commissioning, ensuring they are efficient and effective.

The CCGs work together on four programmes: Urgent Care, Long Term Conditions, Planned Care and Joint Commissioning, these are the four areas covering clinical change projects and other commissioning priorities. Newbury & District CCG leads on Planned Care in this arrangement. The programmes are led by:

  • Planned Care (Newbury & District CCG)
  • Urgent Care (North & West Reading CCG)
  • Long Term Conditions (South Reading CCG)
  • Joint Commissioning (includes children and mental health) (Wokingham CCG)

The Federation has implemented a robust executive management structure, provided across all four CCGs.

Who oversees the CCGs

CCGs are overseen by NHS England, which is a national body formed under the 2012 Act, previously known as the NHS Commissioning Board. Local offices of NHS England oversee CCGs and also manage primary care commissioning, including commissioning GP’s, dentists and opticians.

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