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Leaked draft paper reveals blueprint for NHS Commissioning Board

The new NHS Commissioning Board is set to employ around 3,500 staff under the stewardship of five executive directors, with around 2,300 of these assigned to manage and work with GP-led commissioning groups, it has emerged.

A leaked draft of a planning paper by NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson, chief executive of the new board, outlines how it will be designed.

Sir David will lead a five-strong executive alongside a nursing director, director of finance, director of performance and operations and a director of commissioning development.

Sir David said 8,000 staff currently perform the functions that will eventually transfer to the board, but said this number would be reduced dramatically.

He wrote: ‘I envisage this reducing to around 3,500. Approximately two thirds will be deployed locally within the ‘field force' managing relationships with clinical commissioning groups and performing direct commissioning and other associated functions'.

The document also reveals the board will also have five national professional leads – one to oversee each outcome area in the new NHS Outcomes Framework – who will report to a medical or nursing director at national level.

A further five national director roles will be created covering patient engagement, insight and informatics, strategy and transformation, policy and corporate development and chief of staff.

The paper also outlines the role that new clinical commissioning groups will be expected to play alongside the board in policing GPs and monitoring primary care performance.

Sir David wrote: ‘Significant aspects of the commissioning of primary care services will need to be carried out locally…some aspects will continue to be organised nationally, particularly contract negotiation and some back office and payment functions.

‘In addition, I envisage a significant role for clinical commissioning groups themselves in overseeing primary medical care contracts and improving the quality of primary care, supported by the board.'