National Programmes of Care and Clinical Reference Groups

Revisions to Clinical Reference Groups

In April 2016 NHS England published the outcome of a 30 day engagement period with stakeholders on proposed changes to Clinical Reference Groups (CRGs) and their membership. Further information on the changes to CRGs can be found in the engagement outcome report.

Please note – the following sections of the NHS England website have been updated to reflect the new CRG structures introduced from April 2016 and all clinical policies, service specifications and other documents have been transferred to the new CRG pages.

What are National Programmes of Care?

The specialised services commissioned by NHS England have been grouped into six National Programmes of Care (NPoC). Each has an NPoC Board which coordinates and prioritises work across the services in that programme of care.

The six NPoCs are:

What is a Clinical Reference Group?

Each NPoC has several Clinical Reference Groups (CRGs) to provide clinical advice and leadership. These groups of clinicians, commissioners, public health experts, patients and carers use their specific knowledge and expertise to advise NHS England on the best ways that specialised services should be provided.

CRGs lead on the development of clinical commissioning policies, service specifications and quality standards. They also provide advice on innovation, horizon scanning, service reviews and guide work to reduce variation and deliver increased value. CRGs, through their Patient and Public Voice (PPV) members, also help ensure that any changes to the commissioning of specialised services involve patients and the public.

Medicines Optimisation Clinical Reference Group

The Specialised Commissioning Medicines Optimisation CRG works across all the service-specific CRGs. One of its key roles, working with experts from around the country, is to ensure that the systems and levers currently in place for the procurement, selection and use of medicines in secondary care are as effective as possible in supporting patients to take their medicines; in reducing harm from medicines while ensuring best value.

Service specifications developed by the CRGs are available on the individual CRG pages, and are covered by Gateway reference 00055.

Getting involved with Clinical Reference Groups

NHS England welcomes the involvement of interested people in the work of the CRGs and is keen to work with all stakeholders including charities, patient groups, staff from service providers and commercial organisations.

If you would like to get involved you can become a registered stakeholder. You will be kept up to date about the work of the CRGs as well as having the opportunity to get involved in a range of ways.

Compact agreement developed between industry and NHS England’s Clinical Reference Groups

A Compact Agreement has been developed by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) and NHS England to ensure effective partnership working between ABPI members and the specialised services Clinical Reference Groups.

The Agreement highlights a number of commitments from both parties which will enable them to collaborate and drive the delivery of high quality treatments and services to patients in specialised services.

National Dose Banding Table

The National Dose Banding Tables are to be used by Hospital Trust Pharmacy Teams to ensure a standard approach to dose banding of Chemotherapy across all Hospital Trusts. The initiative initially focused on 19 commonly used drugs but now looks at 48. This will help the NHS achieve improved value through the ability to purchase standard off the shelf products.