CCGs could be placed into special measures if there is not sufficient access to GP services in their area, the health secretary has announced.
In a speech today in Liverpool, Jeremy Hunt announced plans for CCG traffic light ratings similar to those already being published for NHS providers on NHS Choices.
He said CCGs rated largely green (good) and blue (OK) would be ‘left alone’, while others in the red and yellow could face being put into the new ‘success regime’ announced yesterday by NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens.
Mr Hunt said the Government is currently developing alongside the King’s Fund a traffic light system for CCGs on health outcomes by measuring access to services, quality and safety and prevention.
He said the work would result in ‘transparent metrics’ that will be a ‘correct way of holding CCGs accountable for the way they deliver healthcare’.
The health secretary added that ‘it is not just going to be about the CCG it is going to be about the mental health provider, it will be about the service offered through GPs, and so on but in the end the CCG holds the cheque book so they are responsible for making it work’.
The ratings will be based on the service received by patient groups, such as older people, vulnerable older people, people with long-term conditions, patients with mental health conditions, families and the ‘generally healthy’.
The CCGs’ performance for each group will be based on ‘access’, ‘clinical outcomes’ and ‘prevention’, he said.
It comes as yesterday Mr Stevens announced that Essex, Cumbria and parts of Devon would be the first whole health economies to be put into a new ‘success regime’, aimed at turning failing areas into successful areas when it comes to care quality and healthy finances.
Today, Mr Hunt said the CCG traffic light ratings would be ‘vital’ in determining where these success regimes would be implemented.
He said: ‘If we do this we will be truly one of the first countries in the world to try and understand the quality of whole patient care of an entire patient pathway, primary, secondary, social care, where it is working, where it isn’t working, and this will be absolutely vital information for the intervention regime that Simon talked about yesterday for underperforming health economies.
‘Because the intention here is that we are able to leave you alone if you are getting lots of green ticks and lots of blue okays, but on behalf of patients we have a responsibility to step in if we have persistent failure that is not being addressed.’
NHS England has said one of the key areas it will focus on driving in these areas are the new models of care, which were described in the NHS England five year plan and are being piloted by ‘vanguard’ sites across the country.