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CCG training: time to take control

CCG training: time to take control


CCGs are in danger of leaving it too late to engage in training programmes designed to give them the best possible chance of becoming the effective, quality-driven, financially-sound commissioners we all know clinicians can and should be.

The ‘blame’ for poor take up of CCG training schemes cannot entirely be placed on CCG members alone as offerings have been thin on the ground.

But the key message from my investigation published last week is that training programmes are out there.

Some organisations tell me they expect CCG training places to fill at a quicker rate once CCGs become authorised, but this seems far too late. By then, CCGs will have £65bn to control, delegate and have overall responsibility for.

Preparation is vital, but missing guidance from the NHS Commissioning Board (NHS CB), which is expected to give greater clarity over the role of a clinical commissioner, is pushing training time further and further down on a CCG’s list of priorities.

A lack of encouragement and incentive for CCG training from the centre is both puzzling and worrying, considering the policy is centrally-driven.

The NHS CB has confirmed it plans to launch a ‘Commissioning Academy’ and development tool kit for CCGs but has not released any further information – even at this late stage in the game.

Besides, the ‘Commissioning Academy’ is expected to encourage partnership working between CCG Chairs, Accountable Officers, Finance Directors and NHS CB senior staff. The new generation of jobbing GP commissioners, who are arguably going to need the most help and guidance, are not going to get a look in.

In conducting this investigation, I was amazed by the lack of information, the absence of monitoring training applicants and training processes, but above all, I was shocked by the lack of urgency shown by nearly all of the organisations I spoke to.

Time and time again we hear that CCGs must not be set up to fail. It is hard to see how they can avoid this with little to no training.

CCGs must not wait for central encouragement. CCG leaders must take control and ownership of upgrading their members’ knowledge and skill set and ensure they have sufficient time allocated in their schedule to do so.

Seek training schemes out. Don’t be left in the dark.


As GP Business' principal reporter, Louise Naughton has a keen interest in all things health policy and GP commissioning. Before joining GP Business, Louise covered the payments beat at a financial news company and worked as a freelance reporter on local newspapers. Louise studied journalism with sociology at City University London, where she was awarded a first class honours degree. 

Read more from Louise Naughton


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