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Relationship between CCGs and NHS England needs improvement, Sir David admits

Relationship between CCGs and NHS England needs improvement, Sir David admits

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Sir David Nicholson has admitted that the relationship between clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and NHS England “isn’t quite right”. 

Speaking exclusively to The Commissioning Review, Sir David acknowledged that the relationship is “complicated” because of NHS England’s dual roles of commissioning and providing assurance. 

He said: “Increasingly, NHS England should be the partner, not the supervising body. As CCGs get better and more mature and organised, that relationship will shift. 

“On the one hand we’re doing assurance and intervening when things go wrong, but on the other hand we’re a partner, commissioning services together. I don’t think we’ve quite got that relationship right.” 

Proper joint commissioning of primary care and improving the way that specialised services are commissioned, together with CCGs, will be one way to improve the relationship, Sir David believes. 

“Increasingly we’ll see joint commissioning between CCGs and NHS England in terms of primary care. I think it’s really important that we move onto that quickly,” he said.

In his final speech as NHS England chief executive, Sir David revealed worries that NHS England has spent too much time organising CCGs, but not enough “discipline” in organising their own commissioning. 

He said: “Recent surveys show we’re making some progress but there’s a lot more to do. I think our weakness has been our own direct commissioning.” 

Because of that weakness, Sir David rated NHS England a 5/10 for progress since April 2013. 

CCGs were given an 8/10 for what he calls a “fantastic start”. 

More information on Commissioning Live is available to view online.

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