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Hunt launches plan for CCGs to be more “accountable”

Hunt launches plan for CCGs to be more “accountable”

Jeremy Hunt, health minister, today announced a national plan to make clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) quality of care more visible, so commissioners are more accountable
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Jeremy Hunt, health minister, today announced a national plan to make clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) quality of care more visible, so commissioners are more accountable.

“I have asked Chris Ham of the King's Fund to help myself and NHS England develop some transparent metrics that look at the provision of health care in every part of the country, as the proper and correct way of holding CCGs accountable for the way they deliver healthcare,” Hunt said at the NHS Confederation annual conference in Liverpool.

He gave the example of mental health provision, and said it is “very important” that we know what, in any town, their quality of mental health is, and how that compares with the neighbouring towns.

“We're thinking essentially that we would look at the performance of CCGs, who as you know we hope will be responsible for all commissioning of health care, not just secondary care but co-sommissioning social care, co-commissioning primary care, specialist care, and so on, through the lens of five key patient groups,” he said.

These groups were older people (aged 70+), those with long-term conditions, mental health conditions, mums and children, and the generally healthy. The idea is that everyone will fit into one of these five groups.

“For all of those patient groups we all know that healthcare is a combination of access, quality and prevention. How you weight those factors is of course very important and it's one of the things that Chris Ham will help us work through, and also they will be helping us understand where we don't collect data and need to collect data.”

“In the end the CCG holds the chequebook so they are responsible for making it work, and if we do this we will truly be one of the first countries in the world to try and understand the quality of whole patient care for the entire patient pathway, primary, secondary patient care. Where it is working/where it isn't working.”

By increasing transparency and data sharing of CCGs, he said that if CCGs are performing well he can “leave you alone”, but “on behalf of patients we have the responsibility to step in if we have persistent failure that isn't being addressed”.

Hunt will now pass his proposals on how to achieve this to Chris Ham and the King's Fund, who will form the final proposals.

In the speech he also focused on clarifying the efficiency savings, and announced that Patrick Carter is producing plans for a model hospital which will be published shortly, and that by September they will announce the sum of money hospitals could save if they use his plans.

From September to December Hunt said that they “will work this through” with individual hospitals, with the cuts starting to be carried out in December, using shared data to inform this process. Hunt said that this will help to spread best practice amongst the system.

He also announced that hospital chains will start being piloted and that for those selected, NHS England and they government will do “everything we can to remove the obstacles in your path to developing those chains.”

“NHS England and Monitor will choose by September our first four NHS FT chains, so any of you people who think you are up for being one of the first hospital chains in the NHS now is the time to think about what your proposal is,” he said.

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