Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are NHS bodies that plan and commission health services for their local area from providers such as hospitals, clinics and community health bodies. There are now 195 CCGs in England; they were established in 2012 to help health services be more responsive to patients’ needs by tailoring services to local areas.
Many CCGs failing to function effectively
However, many are failing to function effectively: NHS England’s annual assessment for 2017-18 showed that out of the 207 CCGs in England, although half were rated as “outstanding” or “good”, 87 “required improvement” or were “inadequate” and 24 were deemed to be failing or at risk of failing.
A recent National Audit Office report found that an increasing number of CCGs are overspending against their total budget plan. In 2017/18, 75 of 207 CCGs spent more than planned, with a total overspend of £213 million across all CCGs – compared to 57 in 2016/17 and 56 in 2015/16.
CCGs evolving structurally
The structure of CCGs is evolving: there were eight mergers between 2013 and 2018, most CCGs now share accounting officers and some are establishing joint commissioning arrangements with their local authority. The NAO report suggests that this trend is expected to continue, leading to fewer CCGs covering larger populations.
Send a written submission
Following the Committee’s investigation into NHS continuing healthcare funding in January 2018, funding pressures on CCGs have been an ongoing concern. On 9 January, the Committee will question senior officials at the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England about why so many CCGs are failing to function effectively and increasing numbers are overspending against their budgets. The Committee will also consider the current and future role of CCGs, examining how local health service needs will be protected.
Send a written submission to the Public Accounts Committee's inquiry on Clinical Commissioning Groups.
The deadline for written evidence is 1 January 2019.