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Area teams 'distant and inflexible' report claims

Area teams 'distant and inflexible' report claims

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NHS England’s area teams are making it harder for clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to develop integrated services, commissioning leaders have claimed. 

A report released by membership group NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC) claims that area teams “risk reinventing the controlling behaviour associated with strategic health authorities”. 

NHSCC claim that area teams are being “forced to spend most of their time on contracting process” instead of innovating. 

The report reads: “CCGs have been waiting for area teams to come up with comprehensive primary care strategies that have, largely, either not been forthcoming or been drawn up with little CCG involvement.” 

But the report, The Future of Primary Care Commissioning, concedes that area teams are only “distant and transactional” because they must constantly check with NHS England’s national team whether they are allowed to make a particular decision. 

The report calls for area teams to be freed up, so that joint commissioning begins to happen locally across the whole country. 

The Future of Primary Care Commissioning explores the challenges to driving quality as well as proposing clear and practical solutions. 

The publication also looks at examples of good, working partnerships and explains why integrated services must always start with a 'whole system' strategy if they are to bring the best care to patients and local communities.

Dr Steve Kell, co-chair of the NHSCC Leadership Group said: "The development of primary care is most effective when there is close collaboration between CCGs and area teams. 

“There are a range of well-tested and effective mechanisms that can easily be put in place to ensure CCG decision making processes remain open. Taking these steps would free up all parties, allowing them to remain accountable and still push local service improvements forward".

The full report is available to view on the NHS Clinical Commissioners website

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