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Nene CCG told to hand over local hospital commissioning

NHS Nene CCG, one of the country´s largest and highly regarded commissioning groups has received a legal direction to hand over the lead on commissioning for a local hospital to a neighbouring CCG, as part of its authorisation process.

The legal direction issued by the NHS Commissioning Board means NHS Nene CCG must hand lead responsibility for commissioning for Kettering General Hospital Foundation Trust to NHS Corby CCG.

s well as the legal direction, the CCG was authorised with a further 13 conditions including a requirement that the NHS Commissioning Board oversee its contracting with another hospital, Northampton General and sign off its contract.

The CCG which covers 600,000 patients and 72 practices was shortlisted for four Vision Awards last year, including most advanced CCG and two HSJ awards, including commissioning organization of the year. It was also featured in a NHSCC report last year ‘Clinical Commissioning in Action’ profiling 12 of the best examples of clinical commissioning.

Dr Darin Seiger, NHS Nene CCG clinical chair said: ‘We fully recognise that we have some areas that we need to strengthen and develop as a new organisation and we are working hard to ensure that these actions are completed by April 2013.’

A legal direction from the board means CCGs receive formal, legally-underpinned support from the board. Instructions received by the CCG are legally binding and must be complied with. The support is removed once the CCG has fully satisfied the authorisation requirements. The conditions of authorisation allow the board to ‘insert or provide a specific team or individual’ into the CCG.

NHS Nene CCG was one of 67 CCGs authorised in the second wave of CCG authorisations announced last week. Nineteen of the 67 CCGs were authorised with no conditions, while the remainder had at least one condition placed on their authorisation.

NHS Herts Valleys CCG had a total of 28 conditions and two legal directions imposed and NHS Medway CCG had 24 conditions and a legal direction imposed.

NHS Herts Valleys CCG must seek the board’s approval of a new accountable officer appointment and the NHS Commissioning Board will oversee and supervise NHS Medway CCG´s financial plan.

A spokesman for NHS Clinical Commissioners said: ‘The authorisation process is an important one to verify CCGs are ready to take on their significant responsibilities. CCGs are being established to a very tight timescale and it is to their credit that so many of them are judged ready to take on these responsibilities.

‘Where the Board decides that it has to use its powers of direction, it is essential that these are proportionate and enable the CCG to have the condition removed and to be fully authorised in a realistic timeframe.’

The second wave of authorisations means there are now 101 CCGs authorised – almost halfway to the anticipated total number of 211.