Eight Clinical Commissioning Groups of GPs and patient representatives (CCGs) have today made a set of ambitious decisions to improve health services across a quarter of London. Proposals will now be worked up in three key areas:
• A financial strategy to deliver the Shaping a healthier future reconfiguration programme;
• Exploring with NHS England a different way of financing and commissioning primary care services, and considering this with the CCGs' member practices;
• The future of Commissioning Support Services.
On the first of these, the CCGs –Brent CCG, Central London CCG, Ealing CCG, Hammersmith and Fulham CCG, Harrow CCG, Hillingdon CCG, Hounslow CCG, and West London CCG –have all agreed to put funding into a central budget. If approved by NHS England, the fund will be worth £139m for 2014-2015 and there is a commitment to continue the strategy for the next five years. This means that, effectively, those CCGs who have a surplus will be supporting those with a deficit, and that resources will be shared across CCG boundaries to ensure more equity of funding among the eight CCGs in NW London. Specifically, this will enable the CCGs to make the following investments:
• £57m to deliver Shaping a healthier future, the large scale reconfiguration plan which will create five major acute hospitals in NW London;
• £35m to ensure there is more level 'financial playing field' between CCGs;
• £47m to improve out of hospital services such as seven day opening and community services.
Secondly, in an equally bold move, the eight CCGs have agreed to explore with NHS England bringing the commissioning of primary care together across organisational boundaries. This should enable them to make the further investments in primary care needed over the next few years, to support the shift in services from hospital to community settings and transform care for patients. This new arrangement will be a significant development for GPs and for the NHS, and will enable them to buy and plan health services more strategically, effectively and sustainably.
Thirdly, the CCGs have almost completed a review of the services they currently purchase from NW London Commissioning Support Unit and will be publishing this at the end of April.
All the decisions now have to be approved by NHS England, but the proposals to work with them to ensure the plans go ahead were agreed at a meeting of the Collaboration Board of all eight NW London CCG Boards this week.
Board Chair Dr Ian Goodman, a GP in Hillingdon, said:“These proposals on how we allocate our funding and how we commission primary care will hugely improve our ability to deliver better services for all our patients across a vast area of London. This is a key moment for the development of the NHS in the hands of its leaders, the GP community.
“As GPs we are all genuinely very excited about this. It reflects how well we as eight CCGs and their chairs can tackle tricky problems to bring about a result that benefits all the patients within NW London.
“We consider that this is perhaps the most important decision we have made, quite simply because it will have a major impact on a quarter of the population of London. We now look forward to NHS England endorsing this important move to deliver better care for patients.”
More information can be found in the papers published for this meeting.
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