Bulletin for CCGs: Issue 52, 06 February 2014

Gateway reference number: 01138  

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NHS Commissioning Assembly News:

Strategic issues:

Operational issues:

Other News:

Events and Campaigns:

Letters to CCGs:



Reminder – applications closing soon


Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund – expressions of interest by 14 February

NHS England is inviting GP practices to submit expressions of interest (EOI) for the £50 million Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund, to test ideas for improving access to general practice and innovative models of providing primary care services.
To be considered for funding, GP practices need to submit their EOIs by 5pm Friday 14 February. More details, including the EOI proforma and updated FAQs, are available on NHS England’s website.


NHS Commissioning Assembly News


Free passes for Health and Care Innovation Expo 2014

The Commissioning Assembly has secured the opportunity for Assembly members, or their nominated representative, to attend the Health and Care Innovation Expo 2014.

The annual Expo event will be a chance to share the work of the Assembly. It will also give members and the wider commissioning community a fantastic learning and networking opportunity including short inspirational talks from the working groups, a session from the quality working group as well as tutorials and other networking events in the NHS university space.

The event will be held on 3 and 4 March in Manchester. Further details are available.

Please contact us by 12 February to register your interest in attending the event.


Task and finish group update

The first meeting of the membership, constitution and ways of working task and finish group took place in January and CCGs and NHS England representatives contributed valuably to discussions. The group will continue its discussions at a further meeting on 19 February, with the outcomes being presented to the Assembly Steering Group on 25 February.

One to one interviews are still taking place so if you would like to contribute either via this method or by taking part in the meeting on 19 February please contact us.


Working group update

Three of the Assembly working groups have held meetings this month to discuss progress and look at next steps for the groups. These were CCG Development, Strategy and Quality.

The CCG Development Working Group focused on the NHS IQ offer, the NHS LA and Leadership offer, and the 2014/15 programme for CCG Development.

The Strategy Working Group brought members together for the first time and discussed the recently published planning guidance and strategy as well as the future plan for the group for 2014/15.

All outcomes of these meetings will be on the website shortly.


Submit your examples of good practice to the national library of CCG case studies

Developed for CCGs to disseminate and share best practice, the Pinboard is a new searchable national library of CCG case studies that is part of the Learning Environment.  Prior to its launch in March, the team are gathering examples of good practice in CCGs for inclusion in the library. We would like to hear from your CCG about the good practice you would like to share. Areas of particular interest include (but are not limited to) patient and public engagement, clinical leadership, strategic and operational planning and collaboration.

If you have case studies or examples which you would like share, please contact Rachel Snow-Miller


Strategic issues


The five year strategy for specialised services

CCG representatives are sought to play a key role in the development of the specialised services strategy.

A CCG leader is sought to act as the CCG lead on the five year strategy for specialised services. The CCG lead will work alongside the Clinical Director of Specialised Services, providing advice and views to support the strategy development and to ensure it meets the needs of CCGs and their patients.

The role would involve attending the strategy steering group monthly (2 hour afternoon meeting in London or via telephone) plus an interim monthly 30 minute telephone meeting. Support can be provided to get wider CCG comments as documents are produced.

Additionally, five Service Level Planning events are taking place as part of the strategy development to consider objectives for individual services. CCG representatives would be most welcome to join the discussions and the team are keen to ensure CCGs are involved as the work moves forward. Each event will focus on one of the five programmes of care:

  • 28th Feb – Internal Medicine (London)
  • 7th March – Cancer and Blood (Leeds)
  • 12th March – Women and Children (London)
  • 13th March – Trauma (Manchester)
  • 21st March – Mental Health (London)

Contact Felicity Taylor for more information or expressions of interest.


CCG Running Costs Allowances 2014/15 & 2015/16

Following the NHS England Board meeting on 17 December 2013, we have now published CCG running cost allowances for 2014-15 and indicative running cost allowances for 2015/16 for planning purposes. The figures outlined here in the running costs translate to per head allowances of £24.73 (2014-2015) and £22.07 (2015-2016).

A letter regarding CCG running costs allowances 2014/15 & 2015/16 has been sent to CCGs and a document on the calculation of running cost allowances has been published.


Commissioning Support Services (CSS): Advice on value for money assessment of “significant changes” from outsourced to in-house provision

In October, we made a commitment to develop a business case process for CGGs to use when assessing proposals for bringing a significant proportion of their commissioning support services back in-house from their CSU. This recognises the potential impact that such a change might have on the CCG, the stability of the CSU, and the continuity of supply for neighbouring CCGs and NHS England.

NHS England’s commissioning support market development team has engaged with CCGs and other stakeholders to develop this process.  This letter to CCGs sets out in more detail the process to be followed, and a template and guidance have been provided to help CCGs develop a robust business case to demonstrate value for money.

CCGs remain free to choose how and from whom they secure their commissioning support. This advice aims to support that, whilst ensuring that the impact on the wider commissioning sector is taken into account in that decision and that costs are appropriately apportioned.


Proposals for CSU autonomy

The NHS England Board have endorsed proposals for CSU autonomy that will see a locally led, nationally assured approach to transition with four possible organisational forms.  The Board agreed this would ensure the creation of a more efficient and effective NHS commissioning system that supports CCGs to secure better outcomes for patients and better value for taxpayers.  In determining which option to apply for, CSUs are required to consult stakeholders, which will enable CCGs to help influence this process and ensure the appropriate autonomous structures are in place to support transformational change. The Board paper is available here.


Clinical reference groups

Clinical reference groups (CRGs) have been established as the primary source of clinical advice to NHS England in support of the direct commissioning of prescribed specialised services. Consideration is being given to including CCGs representatives on CRG boards. CCG representatives interested in joining one of the boards should contact Julie Cunningham.


Post-authorisation conditions review

The latest report detailing those CCGs with outstanding conditions and directions is now available on the NHS England website. Reviewed by the CCG Assurance and Authorisation Committee on 17 January, this document shows progress with twelve more CCGs now having all their conditions removed and the number of CCGs with legal directions reduced from eight to three.


Consultation on proposed additions to the CCG Outcomes Indicator Set 2015/16

The HSCIC is gathering feedback from CCGs and clinicians on proposed additions to the CCG Outcomes Indicator Set for 2015/16, via completion of a selection of short topic based questionnaires.

The indicators measure outcomes at CCG level to help inform priority setting and drive local improvement and contribute to the five domains of the NHS Outcomes Framework.  HSCIC works in partnership with NHS England and NICE on the indicator set development. HSCIC develops, tests and assures the methods for each indicator.

The survey results will be incorporated into the guidance supplied to NICE’s independent advisory committee in May 2014.

The surveys and a description of each indicator are available between 2 February and 2 March via the HSCIC website.

To submit more general feedback about the indicators contact the HSCIC.


Further information and templates for locally-determined prices

There are a range of circumstances where prices for healthcare services are determined locally rather than nationally. Following on from the publication of the 2014/15 National Tariff Payment System on 17 December 2013, Monitor has now published additional information to assist commissioners and providers get to grips with rules on Local Variations, Local Modifications and local price-setting. Further details, including templates and instructions on how to submit locally determined prices to Monitor, will be provided soon.

Please see further reading on locally determined prices. 


Risk Stratification Assurance

NHS England has gained approval for the disclosure of commissioning data sets and GP data for risk stratification purposes. This will enable GPs, supported by CCGs, to target specific patient groups and enable clinicians to offer appropriate interventions.

NHS England has given an undertaking to the Secretary of State that it will seek assurance from CCGs that the conditions set out for processing of personal confidential data are undertaken and maintained.

To provide assurance that your organisation’s risk stratification is in compliance, please read and complete the approval document.


Developing sub-narratives of patient care

NHS England is seeking involvement from commissioners in a national programme of work around integrated care.

Involvement will focus on the key work stream of ‘the patient voice – the narrative’. NHS England have already developed the overarching narrative for how patients want to be treated and involved in their care and are now looking to extend this to the following groups:

  • frail older people
  • children with complex needs
  • adults with continuing mental health needs
  • people approaching care at the end-of-life

Involvement in this work would include attending 1 or 2 workshops between now and March and helping to agree what the final narrative will look like. Email contact is also a possibility.

Commissioner representation is vital to ensure the narrative produced is useful and workable whilst also defining the ask of patients.

For further information please contact Louise Corson


Operational issues


New film launched to raise further awareness about use of NHS patient data

NHS England has launched an animated video to raise awareness of how patient data are set to be collected and used to help improve care for all. The video, ‘Better Information Means Better Care’, compliments a leaflet of the same name that is currently being delivered to households in England. These materials are part of a wide range of awareness-raising work that NHS England is doing to ensure patients know about how data are used and the choices available to them. The film is available for CCGs to use in any local activity around the use of patient data.


Policy to support the process of appointing a new accountable officer developed for CCGs

The guidance supports CCGs who wish to appoint a new accountable officer to the role on both an interim and substantive basis.

NHS England has a statutory responsibility to oversee and assure the appointment process. The guidance sets out the roles and responsibilities of area and regional teams in this process. This guidance also reminds CCGs of best practice in appointing to senior roles, including chairs and chief finance officers.

The policy is now available on the NHS England website

For further information please contact Kieran Houser


Winterbourne View Concordat: Assuring transformation of care for NHS funded patients

As requested from 9 January 2014, all NHS commissioners need to complete a mandatory quarterly return (ROCR/OR/2203/001MAND) and (CAG 6-07(a)/2013). The deadline for the first collection was 31 January 2014.

We have now received 124 returns from CCGs. Please can you ensure that your CCG return has been completed? Please send a completed return by 5pm 12 February

Please see the Guidance document and Data Collection.

For further information please contact us

An initial report on the data collection will go to the Department of Health Learning Disability Programme Board on 25 February.


New National Patient Safety Alerting System is launched

NHS England has launched a new National Patient Safety Alerting System (NPSAS) to provide rapid dissemination of urgent information to healthcare providers about identified risks to patient safety. The NPSAS will also encourage sharing of best practices between organisations and provides useful education and implementation resources so appropriate action can be taken to prevent unnecessary harm to patients.

The NPSAS is a three stage system and disseminates patient safety information at different stages of development via the Central Alerting System (CAS). The monitoring of a provider’s alert implementation should be seen as an integral part of the CCGs’ responsibilities for improving quality.


Coming soon the GP IT Operating Model, 2nd edition to be launched

NHS England will soon publish a revised IT operating model, “Securing excellence in GP IT 2nd Edition”, which will:

  • provide strategic direction for general practice IT systems and services;
  • set technology standards;
  • introduce, over a two-year period, an equitable distribution of investment between CCG areas to support consistently high quality IT services;
  • allow CCGs freedom to innovate to support service redesign and integration; and
  • provide guidance and support for the operational management of GP IT

After publication, a number of workshops at a more local level will be available to communicate changes and key messages.

For more information please contact us


First results of Friends and Family Test for maternity services published

Forging ahead with its commitment to more transparency and participation, NHS England has published the first results of the Friends and Family Test for NHS-funded maternity services.  Over 93,600 pieces of feedback have already been gathered from pregnant women and mums, helping to shape local services, celebrate successes and drive improvements in maternity care.


Clarification of arrangements for handling self-referrals of non-emergency maternity services and who pays

Mothers and expectant mothers can expect to have a range of local choices relating to maternity services during and after pregnancy. However, as there is no right to choice in maternity services, the choices depend on local clinical judgments about what is best for women and their babies, as well as what is available locally.

Depending on their circumstances, they may self-refer within the local choice offer that is available. NHS England has issued a statement to clarify referral and authorisation arrangements before assessment and treatment, and who pays.


Bowel Scope Screening delivery and endoscopy capacity

NHS England area teams have been asked to ensure that there is sufficient endoscopy capacity available to support implementation of bowel scope screening. CCGs will wish to plan their commissioning of endoscopy capacity with their local area team, to ensure that overall endoscopy provision in their area is sufficient.

For further information refer to NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme, Bowel scope screening – 2nd wave, Advice to the NHS and bidding process.


Information Governance Bulletin: Issue 10

The tenth edition of the Information Governance Bulletin is now live. This edition includes detailed guidance on Invoice Validation systems, a reference list of queries, notification of events, and material on integrated care and risk stratification.


Other News


Dementia Prevalence Calculator update

The Dementia Prevalence Calculator (DPC v3) has been updated for 2014-15, and transferred to the NHS primary care platform

We are inviting Clinical Commissioning Groups to register to test the tool before 15 February 2014 and to provide feedback in order to allow the developers to address any queries and with a view to the tool being released in mid-March. If you are not a current user of the Primary Care website you will need to register.

For more information please contact us.


Suicide prevention strategy annual report

The Department of Health has issued the first annual report on the suicide prevention strategy for England. The report identifies key research findings, and is accompanied by a statistical update on suicides. It highlights the importance of responsive and high quality care for people who self-harm.


‘Principles for sharing the benefits associated with more efficient use of medicines not reimbursed through national prices’ published

NHS England’s Specialised Commissioning Medicines Optimisation Clinical Reference Group has published a document that sets out how collaborative arrangements between NHS England (as the direct commissioner of ‘specialised’ NHS services) and Trust providers of NHS services can work together to create incentives that achieve both better outcomes for patients and greater efficiencies in the use of drugs not reimbursed through national prices.


Events and Campaigns


Health and Care Innovation Expo – 3-4 March, Manchester Central

Online registration is now live for more than 80 seminars in the pop-up NHS university. You can design your own course through booking on to a wide range of practical seminars including; commissioning for outcomes, integrated care for long term conditions and patient powered health and care.

Some of the most knowledgeable and influential people working in health and care have been confirmed to speak at Expo.  The line-up includes Bryan Sivak- ‎chief technology officer at US Department of Health and Human Services, and Lord Ara Darzi. Focussing on integrated care delivered in the primary sector, our Living Room stage speakers include; Ciaran Devane, Roy Lilley, Colin Cheesman, Dr Geraldine Strathdee, Ian Dalton, Victoria Betton and Don Redding.

Participation and learning will continue in the Digital and GP surgery zones where people can get hands on experience of how innovation is improving services and empowering patients to take control of their health and care.

Expo offers learning, knowledge-sharing and networking opportunities that will give people the tools they need to make a positive change in their own organisations.

Visit the Expo site and register your place today.

Places are available for Commissioning Assembly members free of charge. Please contact the Assembly for more information.




Secretary of State message to all NHS staff

Jeremy Hunt has published a message to all NHS staff on patient care and safety. The message is available on the website

Please draw this to the attention of your colleagues.



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Future communications to CCGs

We have had feedback from a number of CCGs about preferred methods for communications. We will be putting in place a more systematic methodology to reach all CCGs directly. If you have any comments you would like to make on this, or indeed on the bulletin, please email the CCG bulletin mailbox.



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