Bulletin for CCGs: Issue 54, 06 March 2014

Gateway reference number: 01282

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Personal message from Sir David Nicholson

NHS Commissioning Assembly News:

Strategic issues:

Operational issues:

Other News:

Events and Campaigns:

Letters to CCGs:

Personal message from Sir David Nicholson

Personal thanks from Sir David Nicholson

The unprecedented level of flooding that has been experienced in England during January and February 2014 has placed additional pressures on an already busy NHS. I wanted to take the opportunity to express my thanks to you and all your staff for ensuring that the NHS continued to provide safe and effective care and for ensuring that patients were at the centre of our response.

I am aware, through the reports and briefings that I have received, that in some areas you have been dealing with incidents which have had a devastating impact on both individuals and the community as a whole. Some of our staff have been personally affected by the flooding and yet have continued to support the NHS response.

In most areas we are now moving into a recovery phase. The NHS will continue to play a vital role in ensuring that patients and wider communities recover from the effects of the flooding. In Somerset we continue to support the response phase and will continue to work with our partners to ensure a coordinated effort.

During the recovery phase we will undoubtedly wish to contribute to identifying not only the very good practice demonstrated during these unprecedented events but also the lessons we have identified which will serve to enhance our response in the future.

Meanwhile, I would like to reaffirm my sincere thanks to each and every member of staff who has contributed to ensuring that the NHS continues to deliver an effective response in what has been a very challenging time.


NHS Commissioning Assembly News


Thanks for visiting us at Expo

The NHS Commissioning Assembly would like to thank everyone who visited our stand at the Health and Care and Innovation Expo on 3 and 4 March.

The event was a great opportunity to share the work the Assembly has developed over the last year, to meet with those interested in becoming involved and to enable our working, rapid reference and steering groups to network with other members and the wider community.

To build on this, we are now opening the Assembly website to other members of CCGs who wish to have access. Contact us for more information.

If you didn’t get the opportunity to see us at Expo, further information about the Assembly is available or you can contact us if you would like to get involved.


Assembly Steering Group

The quarterly Commissioning Assembly Steering Group meeting was held last week.

A key point of discussion was the importance of the Assembly going forward in order to strengthen key relationships in view of the future challenges facing the NHS. This followed on from recent discussions by the task and finish group which involved representatives from CCGs, Area Teams and NHS England.

The meeting also focused on primary care commissioning and the delivery of the NHS Constitution. Outcomes from the meeting will be available shortly on the Assembly website, together with details of Commissioning Assembly Steering Group members.


New work to support CCGs develop effective governance arrangements

A sub group of the NHS Commissioning Assembly CCG Development working group is overseeing a project to support CCGs in developing strong reliable governance arrangements that member practices and the public have confidence in.

The Good Governance Institute (GGI) have been commissioned to identify what good governance outcomes are for CCGs and how they can be measured, and to develop a language that engages GPs and the public in the positive aspects of governance. Everyone is encouraged to get involved, give their views and help shape the work. For more details please see the GGI website.


Framework of Excellence in Clinical Commissioning for CCGs: your views

The Framework of Excellence aims to set out what excellent practice looks like in CCG clinical commissioning and has been developed in collaboration with CCGs.  We are now seeking the views of CCGs to help shape the next iteration of the Framework to support their on-going development.

The deadline for feedback has been extended to 31 March.

The current Framework and feedback survey are available on NHS England’s website.


Strategic Issues


NHS England launches consultation on changes to specialised services specifications

NHS England has launched a three-month consultation on changes to 15 of its specialised services specifications, as well as asking for views on a new document relating to specialised maternity services.

Please view the documents and find out how you can contribute your views


Allocation growth assumptions to support strategic planning

This guidance is intended to support commissioners who are currently developing their 5 years strategic plans. The CCG Allocation Growth Projections 2016/17 to 2018/19 sets out some high level planning assumptions that CCGs can use when considering how to project growth in allocations in years 3 to 5 of the planning period.

A letter regarding allocation growth assumptions to support strategic planning has been sent to CCGs.


How can CCGs support GPs in their role as an ‘Accountable GP’?

In a note for CCGs and GP practices, Mike Bewick, Deputy Medical Director, sets out how new investment in primary care and community health services – the £5 per head of investment set out in NHS England’s planning guidance – will help GPs ensure that patients with complex heath and care needs receive more proactive, coordinated care.


2012-13 Programme Budgeting data now available

The latest programme budgeting for 2012-13 is now available in the form of an interactive tool. The tool provides benchmarking information enabling NHS organisations to identify how they spend their allocation over programme categories and care settings, also demonstrating how this compares with other commissioners, nationally, locally or with similar characteristics. Commissioners, and those who support them (CSUs) may wish to incorporate this into their strategic planning work.


Support for commissioning service transformation

Commissioning for Effective Service Transformation: What we have learnt aims to provide support to commissioning staff as they seek to identify opportunities for service transformation for their local populations.

This interactive tool highlights some of the key themes commissioners are considering as areas develop plans for transformation, and provides practical examples of how commissioners have approached this in their local areas.

As the new sector develops we will expand this knowledge base further, by working with commissioners and CSUs to identify emerging insights and best practice from the system.


Improving Commissioning Support Services: Your views needed

Accessing great commissioning support services can be a key tool for CCGs in improving patient outcomes. We are currently gathering and reviewing CCGs’ views so that we can ensure CSS develops to best meet the needs of CCGs.

L.E.K., on behalf of NHS England, is running an online survey to gather CCG views about commissioning support services.

To ensure that our approach takes into account the needs of your CCG, we would very much like to hear from you.

The survey will be open until 16 March 2014 and takes 15 minutes to complete.


NHS England’s ambition to Reduce Premature Mortality:  a resource to support commissioners in setting a level of ambition

The planning guidance, published in December 2013, asked CCGs to set levels of ambition for making progress against the NHS Outcomes Framework.  To support this task, NHS England has produced a resource which sets out the interventions which would have the highest impact in reducing premature mortality, including comparative benefits and costs (where known).   The resource was produced in partnership with the Commissioning Assembly Quality Working Group, NHS Improving Quality, NHS England and Public Health England.

The resource is available in a browseable form, and as a printable PDF.  It will continue to evolve as materials are developed.


Operational issues


Winterbourne View Concordat and Assuring Transformation

To assure the public and the Department of Health that the NHS commitments in the Winterbourne View Concordat are delivered, a data collection for all NHS commissioners was introduced with effect from 9 January 2014. 

The headline data from this collection will be published on the NHS England website on 14 March.

The next quarterly collection will be issued on 14 March. This should be completed by all NHS Commissioners, including each CCG, and returned by 5pm 14 April 2014.


NHS Standard Contract – publication of supporting documents

The following documents have been published on the NHS Standard Contract webpage:

  • Collaborative Commissioning Agreements
  • Variation Agreements for contracts in 2013/14, 2012/13 and 2011/12 form
  • Variation Guidance

The following documents will be published shortly:

  • NHS Standard Contract 2014/15 Technical Guidance (final version)
  • NHS Standard Contract Schedule 7 (pension arrangements) and guidance

For more information please contact the NHS Standard Contract Team


AQP Adult Audiology services and Improving Quality in Physiological Service (IQIPS) registration

As part of the Any Qualified Provider (AQP) scheme for Adult Audiology undertaken in 2012, the national commissioning specification required providers to have commenced IQIPS registration by the end of November 2013, and to have completed registration as soon as possible after that date.

IQIPS assess accurately the level of performance in relation to established standards, with the aim of improving service quality, care and safety for patients undergoing physiological diagnostics and treatment. Commissioners who have AQP Audiology contracts in place should ensure that their providers have registered for IQIPS accreditation, and that they complete the accreditation process as soon as possible.


Dementia support: survey of commissioners now extended until 31 March

A group of national organisations including NHS England are considering ways to support local commissioners to offer consistently high-quality support to people with dementia and their carers. This survey, aimed primarily at CCGs and Local Authorities, will inform this work. It asks about the support available in your area, and what action you would like to see from national partners.


GPIT Assets – Notice of PCT Property Transfer Schemes modification to correctly assign GPIT assets to NHS England

NHS England has completed assurance on SHA and PCT Property Transfer Schemes, and to re-assign any incorrectly assigned assets to the correct legal body.

We have identified some instances where GPIT assets have been assigned in PCT Schemes to CCGs and/or provider Trusts in error.

We need to align the legal position with NHS England’s statutory responsibilities for GPIT and the NHS England directions to CCGs, and as outlined in ‘Securing Excellence in GPIT: Operating model’, with a modification to all PCT Schemes to re-assign all GPIT assets to NHS England with effect from 1 April 2013. This will override any erroneous transfers to CCGs.

We will contact CCGs in March to request formal agreement to this change, and would appreciate your support to meet the statutory deadline for modifications to Transfer Schemes before 31 March 2014.


Closure of the KMS authorisation portal

NHS England’s contract for the KMS authorisation portal ends on 20 March, and the system will not be available to CCGs after that date.  CCGs will need to save locally any evidence documentation, reports or letters they want to have ongoing access to.

The KMS support team will be available 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday until 20 March via phone (0191 201 2166) or email to provide support and advice on extracting your documents and information.

NHS England will be in contact with CCGs who remain authorised with conditions to explain the process for future reviews of conditions.


Information Governance Bulletin: 11 edition

The eleventh edition of the Information Governance Bulletin has now been published. This edition contains Department of Health messages on data sharing for commissioners, the latest on risk stratification assurance, an update on NHAIS, and more.


Other News

Leadership for Change Programme inviting applications now

A new national development programme, which brings together leaders from the NHS, Children’s Services, Adult Social Care and Public Health, is now inviting applications.

The free leadership programme is designed for those operating at director and assistant director level, including senior clinical and non-clinical leads in CCGs, and offers the opportunity to develop a whole range of skills that will help them through the increasingly complex leadership challenges facing them.

Further details about the programme and application process can be found here or you can e-mail us with any questions.


Sentinel Stroke National Audit published

The Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP) is the most comprehensive and reliable source of information about the performance of stroke services in England. SSNAP aims to improve stroke care by measuring the quality of stroke services against evidence based standards and supporting staff to make improvements.  SSNAP measures the entire patient care pathway, from admission to hospital through to six months post-stroke; hospitals are compared against evidence based standards and the national average.

Please see the latest copy of the report published February 2014.


NHS Improving Quality launches monthly newsletter

NHS Improving Quality, the driving force for improvement across the NHS in England, has launched a new monthly eNewsletter.

Headlines from the February issue include how NHS Improving Quality is leading transformational change across healthcare, the seven day services improvement programme, a collaborative programme to improve patient safety, CCGs joining the transforming care programme, The School of Health and Care Radicals, measurement masterclass advisory group and insulin safety e-learning modules.

To join the mailing list for future issues please email us with ‘SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER’ in the subject line.


New Year Honours 2015

The Department of Health has started the process for the New Year Honours 2015. The Department is keen to receive nominations of worthy candidates who have made a valuable contribution to the health and care system of people’s health and wellbeing. In particular, the Department is looking for candidates to be considered for the British Empire Medal (BEM) award.

The deadline for submitting honour nominations is Monday 31 March.  The nomination form is available here.


New mental health crisis care concordat launched

Emergency support for people in mental health crisis is set to see dramatic improvements across the country as part of a far-reaching new agreement between police, mental health trusts and paramedics.

The agreement – called the Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat – has been launched by the Department of Health and signed by more than 20 national organisations, including NHS England, in a bid to drive up standards of care for people experiencing psychological crisis.

The Concordat will help cut the numbers of people detained inappropriately in police cells and drive out the variation in standards across the country.


Surgical never events taskforce report published

A report has been published by the NHS England commissioned Surgical Never Events Taskforce making recommendations on how never events can be eradicated from surgical care. The recommendations are set out in three themes:

  • Standardise to develop national standards of operating department practice to support the development of standardised local operating procedures;
  • Educate to ensure consistency in training and education; and
  • Harmonise to bring consistency in never events reporting, publication and dissemination of learning so they can be taken into account through regulation.

NHS England has now started work to consider how the recommendations can be put into practice. This will include the development of resources to support the implementation of local standards, including commissioning resources.


Enhanced Recovery (ER) care pathways; a better journey for patients seven days a week and better deal for the NHS

Given the current national focus on delivering quality clinical pathways seven days a week (Seven day services improvement programme) and the Royal Colleges’ commitment to drive the delivery of ER as standard practice across the whole healthcare system, this publication sets out the levels of ambition to extend the principles of ER beyond elective care to ensure patients get the same standard of care seven days a week.

It provides commissioners with examples of identified ER steps across hospital, community health and social care, where marginal gains can be made to get patients better sooner.


Events and Campaigns


Choice and Competition workshops – March 2014

Aimed at finance, commissioning, procurement and contracting directors and managers from CCGs, as well as CSUs and NHS England regional and local area teams the workshops will help you understand how you can use choice and competition to secure better outcomes for patients, within the framework of the Procurement, Patient choice and Competition Regulations and wider procurement law.

The workshops aim to provide you with:

  • Improved understanding of the Procurement, Patient choice and Competition Regulations (Section 75 Regulations)
  • Better understanding of how Section 75 Regulations apply in different scenarios and how they can be used to benefit patients
  • Better understanding of how the regulations can be used to facilitate service reconfiguration
  • Better knowledge of where to access advice and resources

Each event will allow opportunities for questions and discussions.

Find the event closest to you and book your place.


Integrating Primary Care with Health Care Services: Approaches to commissioning and contracting

Thursday 20 March 2014 10:00 to 16:00 (T&C at 9.30am)

Ambassadors Bloomsbury Hotel, London, WC1H 0HX

CCGs are invited to a national seminar, hosted by NHS England. The seminar will explore the challenges and potential solutions in commissioning and contracting for integrated forms of health care provision including general practice and community health services. The seminar will include:

  • Learning on integrated care solutions involving primary care
  • International speakers, including John Macaskill-Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Midlands Health Network-New Zealand on his experience of building integrated care
  • Provide practical guidance to commissioners and providers on how to contract for and/or align primary care with integrated service solutions.
  • Explore ways to work together with commissioning colleagues in different organisations
  • Explore solutions with the national bodies such as NHS England and Monitor
  • Test and shape the development of tools to be used locally

More information and registration details are available on the event page.


National Psychosis Summit – 10 April

We would like to invite CCGs to attend the first National Psychosis Summit, organised by Rethink Mental Illness in partnership with NHS England and the Department of Health. The National Psychosis Summit will bring together leaders from across health and social care to discuss how we, as a nation, can provide excellent care for everyone affected by psychosis.

New economic data will be presented at the event to demonstrate the business case for changing the way we commission psychosis services. We will be asking you to contribute through workshops about how all parts of the system can better support commissioning for outcomes and values.

Please book your place here. If you have any questions please contact Antonia Borneo


NICE seeks Commissioners for its Independent Advisory Committees

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is recruiting new members to join its independent Advisory Committees:

Patient Access Scheme Expert Panel:

•CCG commissioner

•NHS England national specialised services commissioner

Highly Specialised Technologies Evaluation Committee:

•Two commissioners with experience in specialised or complex services

Diagnostics Advisory Committee:

•Senior NHS manager, particularly commissioning

Medical Technologies Advisory Committee:

•Senior NHS manager, particularly commissioning

For further details and how to apply, please follow the links above.

For any enquiries please contact Nick Aldridge at NICE.




Letter to CCGs re Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) CQUIN

With VTE Risk Assessment a national quality requirement in the 2014/15 NHS Standard Contract, Dr Mike Durkin, Director of Patient Safety at NHS England and Professor Roopen Arya, Chair of the National VTE Prevention Programme Board have written to CCGs urging commissioners to continue to use relevant contracting levers to ensure compliance with all Contract Service Conditions for VTE. In particular – the requirement for undertaking audits of appropriate prophylaxis and the root cause analysis of confirmed cases of hospital-associated thrombosis.


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