Nearly a quarter of CCGs are deemed to fail or at risk of failing, a report has found.
The report – published by the National Audit Office (NAO) today – looks at the role and costs of CCGs and shows that an increasing number of CCGs are failing to function effectively and to spend within their allocated budgets.
NHS England’s vision for commissioning services and the next steps to help underperforming CCGs will be set out in the upcoming 10-year plan for the health service, the NAO said.
The report said that there is a mixed picture in the commissioning landscape in England. In October, NHS England issued directions to 24 CCGs following poor performance, financial management or governance.
In addition, the report said that 87 of 207 CCGs were rated as ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ by the CQC in 2017/18, while 75 overspent £213m against their planned expenditure. The latter compares to 57 CCGs the previous year.
The report also highlighted that CCGs currently struggle to attract and retain skilled leaders, with 111 deemed to have good leadership in 2017/18 by NHS England.
Commenting on the report, Public Account Committee chair Meg Hillier said:
‘We should be concerned that too many CCGs are failing to function effectively and that increasing numbers are overspending against their budgets.
‘Like previous changes to NHS commissioning, CCGs are going through more change and the NHS is crying out for stability.
‘It’s vital that further restructuring supports the 10 year plan and isn’t an unnecessary distraction to addressing the real challenges in the health service.’
Replacing primary care trusts in 2013, CCGs are the fourth attempt to involve GPs more closely in the planning and commissioning of local services.
NHSCC chief executive Julie Wood said that although the commissioning landscape has evolved, CCGs ‘still have a critical role in transforming health and care for the better’.
She added: ‘CCG have already been taking strides to work more efficiently and collaboratively across larger footprints.
‘The commissioning system has been subject to frequent reorganisation and we agree that any further reorganisation of CCGs must not undermine the efforts happening across the system to transform health and care services for the better.’