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Lansley tells CCGs to look at school running costs

 Health secretary Andrew Lansley has defended the £25 a head management allowance for CCGs saying the NHS needs to look at how other sectors do it.

Speaking at yesterday’s NHS Alliance conference he said compared with schools ‘even small CCGs are large organisations’.

Examples were emerging he said of smaller commissioning groups buying in commissioning support on a larger scale in some areas, as well as federations of CCGs forming so that economies of scale were possible.

‘That can enable smaller CCGs to realise you don’t have to spend £25 to try and cover every aspect with it.

‘When we talk about the scale of running costs of CCGs, you will look at the duties and governance of statutory bodies, but actually many of them bear comparison with the governors of schools for example. The average CCG has turned out to have 250,000 patients. Let’s halve that at 100,000. Now even on that basis of £25 a head we’re talking £2.5 million, the running costs, the programme budget could be of the order of £150 million plus. Most schools, who are managing most of these statutory requirements with their governing body are doing it on the basis of maybe 1500 children and a budget of about £7.5 million. So probably less than a couple of hundred thousand is available for the administration. So even small CCGs are in fact large organisations.

‘The NHS has a tendency to think about how things work only in the past context of the NHS where big has always been better. It’s perfectly possible when begin to look outside the NHS at how statutory bodies with statutory responsibilities while being relatively small, it’s perfectly possible to do it.’

The range for the management allowance for CCGs was set to be between £25 to £35 per head. The NHS operating framework published last week announced the running cost would be £25 per head.