Clinical Priorities Advisory Group (CPAG)

The Clinical Priorities Advisory Group (CPAG) makes recommendations on NHS England’s approach to commissioning services, treatments and technologies, and considers which of these should be prioritised for investment. Its scope includes all specialised services of NHS England.

CPAG assesses drugs, medical devices and treatments according to their clinical effectiveness, benefit for patients and value for money. It considers recommendations from Clinical Reference Groups (CRGs) and teams covering NHS England’s specialised commissioning responsibilities, and takes into account detailed information about the financial impact.

It seeks to determine that commissioning approaches have:

  • been developed with the engagement of clinicians from Clinical Reference Groups or bespoke Working Groups
  • been developed with public and patient engagement to a level proportionate with the impact of the decision
  • included consideration of the need to promote equity of access and tackle health inequalities
  • been informed by the evidence base
  • considered consistency with other commissioning policies of NHS England.

CPAG is not a decision-making body, rather it makes formal recommendations to NHS England about the commissioning of services in those circumstances where there could be a substantial change in service provision.

Making decisions about which new treatments to fund:


CPAG is able to call on the full range of expertise of its members to make recommendations: its independent chair, patient and public voice representatives and members with clinical, commissioning and financial expertise. As and when appropriate, CPAG engages with other NHS commissioners and stakeholders, such as clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), and calls on sources of sound evidence from outside the NHS, professional bodies, and other relevant organisations.

Voting members:

In attendance:

  • James Palmer, Medical Director of Specialised Commissioning (Ex Officio)
  • Donna Hakes, Head of Clinical Effectiveness, Specialised Services (Ex Officio)
  • Claire Forman, Head of Acute Programmes, Specialised Commissioning, NHS England and NHS Improvement
  • Dr Dianne Addei, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, Specialised Commissioning
  • Anthony Kessel, Clinical Director, Clinical Policy Team, Specialised Commissioning, NHS England and NHS Improvement
  • Hester Ward, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, Public Health Lead, National Planning, National Services Division, NHS Scotland
  • Ayesha Ali, Medical Advisor to Highly Specialised Commissioning, NHS England and NHS Improvement
  • Malcolm Qualie, Pharmacy Lead, Specialised Commissioning
  • Shona Burman-Roy, Clinical Effectiveness Specialist, Specialised Services, NHS England and NHS Improvement
  • Sara Evans, Project Manager, Clinical Effectiveness, Specialised Services, NHS England and NHS Improvement
  • Agnieszka Rawlings, Business Manager, Clinical Effectiveness, Specialised Services, NHS England and NHS Improvement

The Specialised Commissioning Programme of Care Senior Manager relevant to the policy or other proposals being considered:

  • Ursula Peaple, Senior Manager Internal Medicine
  • Jacquie Kemp, Senior Manager Trauma
  • Sharon Hodgson, Senior Manager Blood and Infection
  • Anthony Prudhoe, Senior Manager Women and Children
  • Fiona Marley, Head of Highly Specialised Commissioning
  • Nicola McCulloch, Head of Cancer
  • Sarah Warmington, Head of Mental Health


Representatives from the Devolved Nations:

  • Nicola Steedman, Scotland
  • Anna Lamont, Scotland
  • Jennifer Thomas, Wales

Terms of reference