This site is intended for health professionals only

‘Spider’ CCGs should add co-commissioning public health to their web, says Hunt

CCGs should expand their co-commissioning responsibilities to public health, and become the ‘accountable care organisation’ for all of their patients’ care, health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said.

His comments come as he also announced a £1.5 billion boost for the Better Care Fund for integrating health and social care, bringing the total pot, largely reclaimed through NHS efficiencies, from £3.8bn to £5.3 billion.

Mr Hunt said expanding CCGs’ responsibilities would allow them to tackle priorities on obesity outlined in the NHS England ‘Five-year Forward View’, and that he envisaged CCGs being ‘the spider at the centre of the web’ of patients’ care.

During his speech at the Best Practice show in Birmingham last week, he reiterated plans for GPs to also take on social care commissioning and he explained that clinically-led CCGs had helped drive improvements in joined up patient care, and were now starting to use their position to implement ‘extraordinary innovations’.

Mr Hunt told delegates: ‘I’d like to see CCGs, clinically-led, becoming accountable care organisations, responsible for all the care of the patients they look after.

‘Not just commissioning secondary care, but with the Better Care Fund co-commissioning social care, with NHS England co-commissioning primary care and with local authorities co-commissioning public health.

‘Because I think we have to join this up, and we have to think about healthcare much more holistically than has happened in the past.’

He added: ‘One of the points in the five year review this morning that was picked up was the very strong comments about doing more on obesity, and we have to link up public health campaigns conducted by national and local government, with the work done by GPs, and practice nurses in GP surgeries.

‘And I think CCGs, if you like, can be the spider at the centre of the web, working closely with lots of people.’

CCGs were told to develop plans for how they would spend the Better Care Fund in tandem with local authorities by March this year and on Thursday Mr Hunt confirmed that 97% of the 151 plans had been approved.

He told the National Children and Adult Services conference in Manchester: ‘Today I am delighted to announce the total amount of pooled budget for next year is even higher than the government’s original £3.8 billion. It has risen to a staggering £5.3 bn. I can announce that 97% of the 151 plans have been approved.’

‘And that as a result of these plans NHS England estimate that the Better Care Fund will be supporting at least 18,000 individuals in new roles delivering care in the community.’

The Department of Health told Pulse that two thirds of the approved plans were in the ‘approved’ and ‘approved with support’ category and would now be ‘mainstreamed into NHS England and LG mechanisms to enable them to get on with implementation.’

The five areas not approved were Oxfordshire, Lancashire, Northamptonshire, Essex and Hillingdon where a team will be ‘working hard over the next few months to support them to strengthen their plans, break through issues and resubmit plans, with a view to securing approval in early 2015,’ a DH spokesperson said.

Earlier this month, Pulse reported that CCGs who have applied for delegated responsibility for GP co-commissioning could be in charge of GMS and PMS budgets, premises costs and QOF.