Continuity of services: Consultation workshops for commissioners

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are being invited to attend one of a series of consultation workshops, hosted by Monitor, on the guidance for continuity of services.

CCGs will have a central and statutory role to play in ensuring the continuity of services for patients. It is also their prime responsibility as a CCG to determine which health services should be protected if a provider fails and enters Special Administration.

Monitor is required to publish guidance for commissioners to help CCGs in this task. It has published a draft for consultation and now wishes to get CCGs’ views at workshops being held during November 2012.

Monitor will seek to protect patients from the risk of provider failure, by monitoring provider risk and imposing certain restrictions on – and assurances regarding the continuation of – their services. These rules are set out in the draft Continuity of Service licence conditions (also out to consultation).

It will be CCGs’ responsibility to review the original designation of ‘commissioner requested services’ that determines which services merit this additional regulatory oversight. Monitor’s guidance will also play a key role in helping CCGs in this task. The guidance aims to ensure that, in carrying out their responsibilities towards continuity of services, CCGs have flexibility and can promote innovation in the configuration and the delivery of health care services.

The workshops will allow in-depth discussion about the role of CCGs regarding continuity of services, and will help CCGs better understand the implications of guidance for commissioners and their patients.