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CCGs and the Tory government

CCGs and the Tory government

11 May 2015

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As the dust settles on an election result that few forecast, our clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are considering what we hope for from the new Conservative government.

As the dust settles on an election result that few forecast, our clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are considering what we hope for from the new Conservative government.

With the NHS Five Year Forward View (FYFV) forming the bedrock of the Conservative health manifesto, it’s crucial that the new government provides a stable environment for the NHS so we can continue the urgent task of transforming care and improving services. In its pre-election manifesto, the NHS Confederation urged the government to trust the clinical expertise of CCGs and enable local NHS leaders to make decisions based on the needs of the populations we serve. Crucially, this means the Tories must stick to its pre-election commitment to no further top down reorganisation of the NHS. We don’t need these unwelcome distractions. 

But that doesn’t mean no change. 

In East Sussex, we’re a quarter of the way through our local East Sussex Better Together health and social care £935 million whole system transformation programme, and we’re beginning to see real service improvements for local patients and professionals. Along with the many similar transformation and integration programmes going on across England, we must be given the support and freedom we need to make some difficult and brave decisions.

If we’re serious about a sustainable NHS, then preventing illness and improving wellbeing is key. Instead of a short-term focus on individual organisational performance, national inspection regimes and performance management structures must pay attention to whole-system service models and care pathways, and finance mechanisms which incentivise co-operation, based on year of care costs. We need political support and time to test the new and integrated provider models (described in the FYFV), which pursue success through quality, efficiency and effectiveness earlier in care pathways. 

The Conservative commitment to meeting £8 billion of the funding shortfall identified in the FYFV is reassuring for commissioners, and we are eager to see further details on how and when this will be funded. We know it’s not all about the extra funding, though: the entirety of our resources need to be used in the right way. We must invest more in mental health services; in integrated local community-based services; and most critically, we must now secure this government’s active support for reversing the proportional decline in investment in primary care versus acute care. Our sustainable NHS starts in sustainable primary care.


Chief officer, NHS Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG, NHS Hastings and Rother CCG board member, NHS Clinical Commissioners.

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