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More than 70% of CCGs to commission GP services from April

A further 87 CCGs have been given powers to commission GP services alongside local area teams, NHS England has announced today.

Speaking at the Commissioning Live conference in London, Dr Mike Bewick, deputy medical director at NHS England, said that overall 151 CCGs – 71% of all CCGs – had signed up to the higher levels of co-commissioning, which will allow them to introduce replacements for QOF and performance manage GP practices.

NHS England has announced which 87 CCGs have been granted these ‘Level 2’ co-commissioning powers, which allows them to jointly commission GP services alongside NHS England local area teams.

The announcement follows on from the news last month that 64 CCGs had been given full responsibility for primary care.

Co-commissioning was introduced by NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens in May as one of his first major moves in the position.

Under co-commissioning, CCGs will be able to offer local incentive schemes to give practices the choice of dropping QOF, and will performance manage GP contracts.

Dr Bewick told Pulse: ‘It is a really good day for general practice and primary care in general because you now have 151 CCGs with all their GPs interested in commissioning primary care for themselves.

‘I don’t think it will be done on day one, I think it will be gradual, and it is NHS England’s job to help them.’

Dr Amanda Doyle, co-chair of NHS Clinical Commissioners, said this ‘demonstrates how important CCGs think primary care commissioning is’.

However, she added that there is unlikely to be big change on 1 April, when they are given the powers.

She said: ‘I don’t think there will be a major change on 1 April, but I think they will see a change over the next year in way they are able to manage demand from their patients, in which they are able to work with community services and social care.

‘We should be able to see some real focusing on practices as the centre of the health economy and as the lynchpin of out-of-hospital services for their patients’