Bulletin for CCGs: Issue 59, 22 May 2014

Gateway reference number: 01674

Issue 59PDF2



NHS Commissioning Assembly News:

Strategic issues:

Operational issues:

Other News:

Events and Campaigns:



NHS Commissioning Assembly News

Give us your views on the next NHS Commissioning Assembly annual event

Planning has now begun for the next annual NHS Commissioning Assembly event, taking place on Tuesday 30 September.

Commissioners are asked for their views to help design the event to ensure it meets the needs of the Assembly’s members.

If you would like to get involved please complete this brief survey and tell us what you would like to see at the event. Further information about the NHS Commissioning Assembly is available on the website.

Free Health and Wellbeing Board peer challenge training – new dates and opportunities

The NHS Commissioning Assembly CCG Development Working Group has been supporting development of HWBs working with partners in health and social care. The Health and Wellbeing Board Peer Challenge programme is now seeking CCG, AT and CSU senior leaders to be part of the challenge teams for 2014/15.   Free two day training is provided and an autumn course date has been set for 2 and 3 October in Warwick.

To talk about why this is a great opportunity for personal and professional development, as well as contributing to sector led improvement, please contact Samantha Illingworth, Collaboration Senior Lead on 07876 851887 or visit the LGA website.

NHS Commissioning Assembly Finance Working Group

The NHS Commissioning Assembly Finance Working Group (CAFWG) is a forum for finance, clinical and Accountable Officer colleagues from NHS England and CCGs to work together on finance issues of common interest. The group will act as a key reference point for the co-production and testing of financial policy across the commissioning system.   The group met on 9 May 2014 to consider key current issues and solutions, including Continuing Healthcare legacy debt. For further information please contact Claire Wilson.


Strategic Issues

Legacy Continuing Healthcare claims – update letter from Paul Baumann

This letter from Paul Baumann, Chief Financial Officer of NHS England, gives a brief update on discussions between NHS England and the Commissioning Assembly Finance Working Group to reach agreement on payment mechanisms for Continuing Healthcare claims relating to the ‘legacy’ period. It also includes important details of payment processes for eligible legacy claims falling due for payment in the short term, and how to ensure that these are paid promptly while the aforementioned discussions are concluded.

CCG authorisation update

The outcome of the latest CCG conditions meetings is now available on NHS England’s website.  All 211 CCGs are authorised, with a further five discharging all of their conditions since the last review, and the number with directions remaining at three.  For more details about the authorisation process and the latest update, see NHS England’s website.

Strategic planning: Outcomes ambitions

All CCGs and area teams were asked jointly to plan for improvement in seven overarching outcomes as part of the strategic planning process.  As part of this, CCGs were asked to set quantitative levels of ambition for five of the outcomes (where indicators were available).

Initial ambitions were submitted in April, and the data will be uploaded on the Levels of Ambition Atlas on the NHS England website for all CCGs and area teams to access.  It should support benchmarking and peer reviewing of plans between local health economies, ahead of final submission on 20 June.

The Integrated Digital Care Fund: Achieving Integrated Health and Care Records- Applications open

The second wave of the £500 million ‘Integrated Digital Care Fund’  (formerly the ‘Safer Hospitals, Safe Wards Technology Fund’) is now open to applications.

NHS Trusts, and now Local Authorities, can apply for part of £240 million of funding to digitise and integrate patient information across the health and care sector, driving improvements in patient care.

It builds on the first wave of £260 million of funding announced by NHS England last July to support NHS Trusts to digitise records and develop electronic systems for prescribing medicines quicker and more accurately.

Applications close at 5pm on 14 July 2014.

For further information please contact Rob Parker.


Operational Issues – for action

Urgent action required to ensure continuation of supplies of medicines to care home patients

Pharmacy Plus, a ‘specialist’ community pharmacy contractor based in Bristol, has very recently gone into administration. Its primary business was to supply around 400 care homes across England with the medicines residents need.

Given the urgent nature of the situation, an alert to was sent out to area teams over the weekend of 17/18 May. CCGs will want to establish how many prescriptions and which practices utilised Pharmacy Plus and will need to work with local care homes to ensure alternative arrangements are in place.   

Year-end group accounts letter to Chief Financial Officers (CFOs)

This letter has been sent to CCG CFOs (copied to CCG Accountable Officers and Clinical Leads and to Directors of Finance in regional and area teams and CSUs) to provide an update on the Department of Health’s Agreement of Balance (AoB) mismatch process.

The latest reports show a gross mismatch of £1.7 billion for the NHS England group, including £0.6 billion mismatch between CCGs and between CCGs and trusts / Foundation Trusts.

The individual entity mismatch reports have been distributed with the message that the level of mismatch must be significantly reduced before submission of final accounts. CFOs and DoFs are requested to emphasise the critical importance of this work with their teams.

Support to CCGs for the selection of CCG Accountable Officers (AOs) and Chairs

NHS England continues to offer support to CCGs for the appointment of CCG AOs and Chairs: For 14/15, CCGs will continue to have the opportunity to use assessment centres commissioned from the NHS Leadership Academy and provided by the HayGroup to help them with support the selection of new Accountable Officers and Chairs.

The assessment centre content and process has been updated in response to feedback and is now more tailored to meet the specific needs of CCGs. The next assessment centre will take place in early September and then another in early January 2015. CCGs who want to take up the offer are planning recruitment of Chairs or AOs within the next six months or so should liaise directly with their Area Team Director of Operations and Delivery or Gill Rooke at the NHS England national support team.

Those CCGs who have already registered their interest in the centres will receive details of the centres in due course.

CCG representation requested for Workforce and Leadership Equality Group

CCG members are invited to put forward their interest in becoming representatives for the Workforce and Leadership Equality Group.

This group is chaired jointly by the NHS Leadership Academy and NHS Employers and will support leadership and workforce priorities for the NHS in respect of Equality and Diversity. These responsibilities will include how best to develop and take forward the priority actions associated with leadership and workforce as set out by the Equality and Diversity Council (EDC).

The Group will meet between 4-6 times a year, in London and Leeds.  If you are interested in becoming a member of the group or would like more information please contact Kate Milton.

CCG equality and diversity survey

The survey of equality and diversity of the CCG workforce has been cascaded via regional and area teams to CCGs.

We hope you will complete the survey, which will help individual CCGs with meeting your equality duties. The final date for returning completed surveys is Monday 2 June.

Please contact us for more information or with any queries.

GP Systems of Choice Framework (GPSoc) contract signed with The Phoenix Partnership (TPP)

Contracts for the new GPSoC framework were signed with 16 suppliers during March 2014. A contract has now been signed with the one remaining supplier, TPP.

CCGs may now order services from TPP on the new framework. The ordering of services can be delegated to a GP IT delivery partner. Final authorisation of any order will remain the responsibility of the CCG.

Read the latest GPSoC bulletin for further information about the new GPSoC framework.

The Staff Survey Approved Contractors Framework

The 2014 NHS National Staff Survey will take place as usual this autumn. The Staff Survey Approved Contractors Framework agreement expires on 31July 2014. So, to avoid the requirement to undertake a full procurement exercise, please make sure you have awarded your staff survey contract by this date.


Other News – for information

NHS England makes Commitment to Carers

NHS England has published its Commitment to Carers document, which sets out how it aims to help carers to provide better care and to stay well themselves.

The 37 commitments are spread across eight key priorities which include raising the profile of carers, education and training, person-centred coordinated care and primary care.

It has been developed in partnership with carers, patients, partner organisations and care professionals over the past few months. NHS England will continue to listen to those closer to the frontline including CCGs and healthcare professionals.

Upcoming launch of new Longer Lives Atlas: Diabetes

Public Health England is launching a new diabetes atlas entitled “Healthier Lives” this summer in next set of atlases in the Longer Lives series.

The atlas will show variation in care and outcomes of diabetes by GP practice, by CCG and by Local Authority using indicators that are already in the public domain.

The tool will be launched in the coming months and aims to improve access to health data for the public and professionals.  Further information will follow.

Alistair Burns: Memory Service Visits

To help build a national picture of some of the opportunities and challenges associated with long waiting times for people referred to memory services; Alistair Burns- National Clinical Director for Dementia, has written to a number of memory services, outlining an offer of support.  The offer will include a service visit to gather information, discuss service improvement opportunities and sharing of learning from the Memory Service National Accreditation Programme.  For further information about the memory services approached please contact Michelle Place.

What does the Pharmaceutical Pricing Regulation Scheme (PPRS) mean for commissioners?

Are you trying to make sense of the Pharmaceutical Pricing Regulation Scheme?  Have you wondered what it means in practice?  NHS England has issued a short question and answer document to shed some light.  NHS England will provide more information on how we will work in partnership with Industry and NHS colleagues to support the implementation of the PPRS: ensuring patients optimize the use of their medicines to get the best outcomes; and exploring how the NHS, clinicians, other staff and services, and Industry, can support patients to do that.

For more information please contact us.

Share your best practice in integrated care

The members of the National Collaboration* for Integrated Care and Support are seeking good, innovative or emerging practice case studies to help all areas of England to learn from good practice, at scale and pace. The case studies should include tangible evidence that the approach is starting to make a difference (e.g. shorter waiting times and hospital stays, fewer referrals to A&E, any cost benefits).

Please email your case studies and good practice examples to ICASE, the online learning community for integrated care and support.

*The National Collaboration for Integrated Care and Support includes ADASS, ADCS, CQC, Department of Health, LGA, Monitor, NHS England, NHS Improving Quality, Health Education England, NICE, Public Health England, SCIE, Think Local Act Personal and National Voices

Don’t miss out! Have your say on police powers on mental health

There’s still time to give your views on the government review of legislation on how police support people experiencing mental health crises.  This is designed improve the crisis care of people detained under Sections 135 and 136 of the Mental Health Act (1983).

The online survey closes on Tuesday 3 June. Please take the time to give your views on this by completing the survey and sharing it with your networks and colleagues, so we can hear from everyone who could be affected.

Changing your supplier for invoice validation?

If you are changing your invoice validation supplier (CSU) or if you are using a CSU for the first time, please remember to update your entry in the List of Controlled Environment for Finance Organisations register.

This can be done by completing returning the Change of Supplier Proposal Form in the CAG 7-07(a) (b) (c)/2013 compliance for CCGs document.


Events and campaigns

Personal health budgets – new 5 day training programme announced

Adults and children eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare currently have the “right to ask” for a personal health budget. This will be strengthened to a “right to have” from October 2014. Is your CCG ready?

Following on from the successful NHS England support programme last year, a new 5 day programme for NHS staff starts in July. Sign up to the Personal Health Budget Learning Network to find out more.

Invitation to Informatics and Clinical Leadership: Improving Efficiency and Patient Safety- Wednesday 4 June 2014

Hosted By NHS England and Clinical Leaders Network In Partnership With The NHS Confederation.

This event will take place at the NHS Confederation Conference in Liverpool and is open to all Healthcare professionals interested in informatics.

Hear from:

  • Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive on Informatics and Clinical Leadership
  • Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer, NHS England on  Informatics, Compassion in Practice and the 6C’s
  • A patient describing why Informatics makes a difference
  • Licence to Lead – Learn about how revalidation is developing in Informatics
  • Be part of developing a network with leaders across health and care
  • Influence the national clinical informatics agenda with Prof Jonathan Kay, Clinical Informatics Director, NHS England

Please see the full list of plenary speakers and book attendance here.



Transforming Rehabilitation and the Provision of Treatment to Offenders

Norman Lamb (Minister of State for Care and Support) and Jeremy Wright (Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Prisons and Rehabilitation) have written a joint letter to local authorities and health partners about the changes to probation that are taking place as part of the Transforming Rehabilitation programme.

As well as bringing significant opportunities for co-commissioning more integrated services, the reforms will also result in changes to the delivery of probation services in areas where treatment and support is closely linked to the criminal justice process.

Change in schedule from three to two doses in the HPV vaccination programme

This letter provides information on forthcoming changes to the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine programme. The HPV vaccine is part of the NHS national childhood vaccination programme and is routinely offered to secondary school girls aged 12 to 13.

In March 2014, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) revised its existing recommendation to change from a three to a two dose schedule.

Research shows that antibody response to two doses in adolescent girls is as good as a full course where efficacy against persistent infection and pre-cancerous lesions has been demonstrated. Evidence from evaluation of HPV programmes has shown that the number of young people with pre-cancerous lesions is falling and protection is expected to be long term.

Be Clear on Cancer Campaign Announcement and Update

Public Health England, in partnership with the Department of Health and NHS England, run the Be Clear on Cancer campaign programme. The campaigns aim to improve early diagnosis of cancer by raising awareness of symptoms and encouraging people to see their GP earlier.
This letter announces the next national campaign ‘Blood in Pee’ in autumn 2014 and updates on the local skin cancer campaign in the south west in June/July. It also includes a link to the latest evaluation of previous campaigns.

Secretary of State for Health writes to NHS staff about the outstanding performance of NHS colleagues

Jeremy Hunt has published his latest message to NHS staff on the website.

The Secretary of State for Health writes to NHS staff about the outstanding performance of NHS colleagues in spite of the ever increasing demand for services.



About this bulletin


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Future communications to CCGs

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Unless otherwise stated, guidance referred to in the bulletin has not been commissioned or endorsed by NHS England – it is evidence that organisations and professionals may find helpful in improving practice.

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