The role of the Clinical Commissioning Groups

Dated:   

The Health and Social Care Bill completed its passage through Parliament in March 2012 and gained Royal assent to become the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

Health and Social Care Bill

The purpose of the bill is to reduce bureaucracy, give patients more control over their health and give more power to doctors and nurses.

You may have heard of the Primary Care Trust (PCT). These will be replaced by the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

As from April 2013 groups of GPs called Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) will replace Primary Care Trusts (PCTs).

CCGs are groups of GPs who will take over responsibility for designing and commissioning or indeed buying local Health Services, which will include planned hospital care, urgent and emergency care, most Community Health Services and Mental Health and Learning Disability Services.

The clinical commissioning groups will ensure that GPs and other health professionals will have a greater say in how the NHS resources are utilised.

CCGs will work with patients and health care professionals in partnership with local communities and Local Authorities, again the purpose is to provide patients and doctors with more say.

The CCGs governing body will have in addition to GPs, at least one Registered Nurse and two lay-members who are not medical practitioners.

One of the lay-members will be a champion of patients’ rights and the other will have a lead role in overseeing issues such as patient care and conflicts of interests.

The Primary Care Trust will continue as a statutory body until the end of March 2013 before the CCGs take over. At the moment the CCGs are formal sub-committees and a formal process to delegate commissioning functions and budgets to the CCGs has been approved to carefully manage the transfer of responsibility from the PCT to the CCGs and the continuity of local Health Services.

You will no doubt be aware that some patients who are able to demonstrate that they have a primary health care need may qualify for NHS continuing care funding (NHS Funding) which is not subject to means tests and like the NHS Service is totally free.

At present it is the Primary Care Trust which determines whether or not funding should be granted. As from April 2013 the CCGs will replace the Primary Care Trust and it will be the new CCGs which will determine whether a patient is eligible for NHS funding, if found to be eligible NHS continuing care funding will be granted by the new CCGs.

The Primary Care Trust hold a sum of money especially to provide free NHS funding for the cost of care to those who really need it and the lack of public knowledge means that only 7% of patients are actually receiving the funding from the NHS through the PCT. A sizeable proportion of the public in need of care, approximately 41%, are funding their own care out of their own pocket and about 51% receives some funding from the Local Authority which obviously is means-tested.

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