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Commissioning Board hands responsibility for commissioning GP services to local teams

The NHS Commissioning Board is to pass responsibility for commissioning GP services to local teams, NHS managers have disclosed.

Minutes from the board's May meeting reveal it plans to discharge some £22bn worth of direct commissioning responsibilities, with ‘all local area teams taking on direct commissioning responsibilities for GP services, dental services and pharmacy services'.

It said the new structure would result in a 'significant reduction' from the 50 local offices of the board initially proposed, to a smaller number of local area teams that would each oversee a handful of CCGs,

The board revealed a third of local area teams across England will lead on specialised commissioning, with a smaller number carrying out the direct commissioning of optometric services, military health services and offender health services.

The smaller teams will also commission public health services and interventions, with ‘some most likely commissioned on a larger geography than individual local area teams (for example, screening programmes) and other possibly at individual local area team level (for example, public health services for the under-fives).

The Board said that the decision had been made following internal discussions, plus ‘further dialogue' with the DH, CCG leaders, SHA and PCT clusters, local government leaders and other key partners, including Public Health England, the NHS Trust Development Authority, CQC and Monitor.

It said the move had also been made after an assessment of 'the leadership pool available to fill these senior leadership posts at both regional and local area level to ensure the NHS CB's Operations Directorate is credible, effective and influential with CCGs, local amenities, primary care, secondary care and specialist providers.'

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