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Musculoskeletal charities spearhead support services for CCGs

A group of leading charities have been selected to spearhead a Government pilot to offer commissioning support to CCGs, in a move that could pave the way for greater involvement from the voluntary sector in commissioning.

The Rheumatology Commissioning Support Alliance,a partnership between the British Society of Rheumatology,the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society and Arthritis Care, has been chosen to take part in a new DH pilot led by Neurological CommissioningSupport.

The move comes despite Pulse revealing in January that the Stroke Association had pulled out of plans to provide commissioning support havingdecided it did not have the capacity to cope with the complexities of theprocess.

The group pledged to provide ‘professional, expert commissioning support services’ to GP commissioners, including ‘clear treatment pathways informed by consultation with patients and clinicians’.

It said specialist knowledge was ‘urgently needed’ to ensure services are commissioned more effectively.

Laura Guest, CEO of the British Society of Rheumatology, said the group was looking forward to ‘working with commissionersto give them the evidence they need to identify and commission the best, mostcost-effective services.’

Mike Dixon, Chair of NHS Alliance and a GP in Cullompton, Devon said: ‘Charities will be very useful for commissioners as long as we know where they’re coming from, because there’s a risk that they can upset priorities set by the CCG as they’re only interest in their area and might want to slant budgets in that direction.

‘But they have more detailed knowledge of one area and can offer innovative provision of commissioning.’