NHS England publishes interim specifications for specialised commissioning

NHS England has today published the interim specifications it has adopted for the commissioning of specialised services.

The new service specifications, along with clinical commissioning policies, were the subject of a short, public consultation which ran from mid-December 2012 to February 2013. NHS England received more than 3,500 responses from individual patients, carers, patient groups, and clinicians which detailed how the proposals could be further developed to reflect the needs of patients. Feedback received during consultation informed the new specifications.

Also being published are the existing national service specifications (mainly covering highly specialised services). Whilst the new specifications are interim until 1 October 2013, the existing national specifications were adopted from 1 April 2013 and were not subject to consultation.

NHS England will now, through its 74 Clinical Reference Groups (CRGs), continue to work with patients, carers and patient groups in the further development of the services specifications for use in 2014/15. Patient and carer members have already been recruited to the CRGs, and will work with clinical and commissioner colleagues, contributing their valued insights and experience to the CRGs’ work programmes. In addition to this, more than 1,000 people have registered with the CRG stakeholder programme, which will enable CRGs to share work with, and collect views and opinions from, a wide range of individuals and organisations with an interest in specialised services.

NHS England will also continue to develop and strengthen patient and carer engagement in the governance of specialised commissioning which will be developed at the Programme of Care, Portfolio and Clinical Priorities Advisory Group levels, ensuring that the patient voice contributes to the drawing up of recommendations and decision-making in specialised commissioning; and NHS England continues to develop its model for engagement in specialised commissioning, which involves patient and carer representatives in its design.

Whilst all of this work continues, NHS England has adopted the specifications in their draft form. Reports detailing the findings from the consultation, and how they have been used to develop the draft documents, will be published on the NHS England website later this year.