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Consortia will fail unless buy in commissioning support, says tsar

Consortia that try to do everything themselves without buying commissioning support are seting themselves up to fail, Dame Barbara Hakin told today’s NHS Alliance conference.

The national managing director of commissioning development said commissioning support was one of the most important areas for consortia to grasp.

‘Even if PCTs were to continue, they could not possibly remain the same in light of the management costs.

‘On the whole PCTs were too parochial in not being prepared to share back-office commissioning support in a way which turned it into a highly professional function.

‘Consortia can do things differently.

‘Consortia that try to do everything themselves – this will fail.’

Dame Barbara said commissioning from a broad range of providers, ranging from outsourcing some of the actual commissioning itself through to back-office functions, would allow clinical leaders to concentrate on the changing clinical services.

She cited patient and public engagement as one area ‘that could be done brilliantly’ by other providers.

‘There are some very big organisations out there that do nothing but work out how and what patients need and then how to involve them in decisions so they have that control.’

Further detail about how the white paper plans would work in practice was also revealed at the Bournemouth conference.
NHS Medical director, Sir Bruce Keogh said the new national outcomes framework would have a strong ‘customer focus’ in a bid to ‘shift the mindset’ of the NHS towards patients.

He explained the outcomes framework being developed had five domains two of which would be the normal technical measurements such as measuring mortality, while the other three would be on customer focus.

Underpinning the framework will be the 150 NICE quality standards, he said.

National director for Improvement and Efficiency, Jim Easton recognised commissioners’ frustration with the current tariff.

‘The tariff is set up for growth in secondary care. Tariff needs to be set up to drive change outside secondary care.’