NHS England is today publishing an agreed set of clinical access policies for specialised commissioning. For the first time ever, specialised services will be commissioned using a nationally consistent approach, meaning that patients will have equal access to high quality services, regardless of where they live.
The policies, along with a number of specialised services specifications, were the subject of a short public consultation between December 2012 and February 2013. The consultation attracted more than 3,500 web and email responses from patients, carers, the general public and wider stakeholders, all of which have been used to inform the final versions of the policies.
The consultation covered a total of 135 service specifications and 44 clinical access policies. The draft service specifications will be subject to a period of further engagement with stakeholders during the coming months. A full consultation report, outlining all feedback, will be published by NHS England in due course.
In addition to publishing clinical commissioning policies, NHS England is also developing a new approach for widening access to some services that are not routinely commissioned by the NHS.
‘Commissioning through Evaluation’ enables treatments or procedures to be commissioned initially on a limited basis whilst further evaluation is carried out to determine whether a substantive commissioning policy should be developed for future use.
NHS England is considering a number of treatments and medical devices as potential subjects for the ‘Commissioning through Evaluation’ approach. These include deep brain stimulation for the treatment of epilepsy; Mitraclip – a device used in the repair of heart valves; renal denervation for the treatment of chronic high blood pressure, and selective dorsal rhizotomy, a treatment aimed at reducing spasticity in children with cerebral palsy.
Patients, carers and wider stakeholders will continue to help NHS England in the development of evaluation criteria for ‘Commissioning through Evaluation’. Patient and carer members of the 74 specialised services Clinical Reference Groups (CRGs) will play a vital role in this work. The recruitment of patient and carer members to CRGs is now open.