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Hunt: To make smart decisions CCGs need more information

Hunt: To make smart decisions CCGs need more information

Health minister said that commissioners need more information to aid their decision-making, and gave the BMA an ultimatum on seven-day working
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Commissioners need more information to aid their decision-making, which could be achieved through metrics and transparency, Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for health, said at a conference in London this morning.

He said that Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, is trying to encourage CCGs to do patient costing models, “so they do start investigating and don’t make shortsighted decisions”.

“I don’t want to… and I’m not going to, second guess the decisions of CCGs at a local level, but the frustration from me is that CCGs don’t have the information at the moment which allows them to make smart commissioning decisions.

“If they knew, for example, that their diabetics cost them on average £6,000 a year, but that if they gave them a £50 wristband that would reduce the cost to £4,000 a year, they would all buy wrist bands for every single one of their diabetics but at the moment they don’t do that, because they say ‘we’ve run out of money we haven’t got the budget,’” he said.

Hunt has been clear about his aims for greater CCG transparency, announcing the planned ‘traffic light system’ to rate CCGs on 5 June at the NHS Confederation annual conference in Liverpool, and the King’s Fund are currently working on the metrics for this.

At the conference today, he also gave the British Medical Association (BMA) an ultimatum to negotiate seven-day working for hospital doctors by September, otherwise he will impose a contract on new consultants next year, stating that the BMA will not be a “road block” to reform.

The Department of Health (DoH) had been trying to negotiate with the BMA since 2012, he said, but the union walked out of talks last October, and Hunt is aiming for the majority of hospital doctors to be on seven-day contracts by 2020.

In response, the BMA said his announcement was a "wholesale attack" on doctors, and asked for answers from Hunt on how this would be funded and staffed, branding his speech “short-sighted”.

Dr Mark Porter, BMA council chair, said: “Doctors believe patients should have access to the same quality of care, seven days a week. If the health secretary wants the same he should be working with us, not setting artificial deadlines and attacking the very people who are the leading advocates for patients, protecting and improving patient care in the face of unprecedented rising demand and funding deficits.

Hunt also announced that the Rose report, which is allegedly strongly critical on NHS management systems, will be published today, and that the merging Monitor and Trust Development Authority will be called NHS Improvement.

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