NHS England’s control over CCG commissioning powers will be extended until 31 March 2021, the Government has announced.
The emergency order, originally introduced in March in response to the Covid-19 crisis, enables NHS England ‘to commission healthcare from independent sector providers’.
It had previously been due to end on 31 December.
The Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) updated directive, published on 21 December, said the NHS commissioning board will continue to support CCGs in providing services as it ‘deems appropriate’ until the new March deadline, ‘to address coronavirus’.
But, as previously the case, the directive does not prevent CCGs from exercising any commissioning powers themselves.
The directive said: ‘The secretary of state for health and social care gives the following directions in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 253, (272(7) and (8), and 273(1) of the National Health Service Act 2006.
‘The secretary of state considers that the incidence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in England constitutes an emergency for the purposes of section 253(1) of that Act, and that accordingly it is appropriate to give these directions.’
The extension of this order until March 2021 comes as England battles through a second Covid wave, and after the discovery of a new variant of the virus, which ‘transmits more easily’.