Clinical commissioning groups were first created back in 2012 when the Health and Social Care act had its big shakeup. This new dogma of clinical hierarchy overtook the previously established primary care trusts (PCT’s) in a move to simplify the ‘rule-making’ and governance within different NHS areas. But what are Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG’s)? CCGs are a group of GP practices, surgeries or services that come together to oversee the services, care and outreach in a particular geographical area, choosing the best care path for patients. The CCGs can be used to address specific care needs to populations in geographical areas and allow for flexibility based on conditions of the local populous. This would allow a CCG to commission more screening in older populations for atrial fibrillation, or a greater emphasis on cancer screening for certain ethnic groups who are populous in the CCG catchment, for example.
CCGs use their funding to assign and purchase services for the community they oversee and even have the flexibility to use services from providers who may be independent, as long as they meet NHS standards. This flexibility allows a more co-ordinated response and a better input of bottom up healthcare which allows the individuals in the CCGs to establish more services based on the direct feedback of patients themselves. For example, particular areas which have intravenous drug use may be able to have feedback from nurses or patients on the lack of services, and allocate funds to clinics and independent providers to provide for the individuals in need. This dynamic approach is a better fit than the heavy-handed approach of ‘these are the only services’ which was seen in the past, meaning patients can make use of the ‘use it or lose it’ paradigm in this healthcare model.
According to the NHS CCG website, 60% of the NHS budget is assigned to CCGs, which oversee a large amount of secondary care services and aid in the co-ordination of GP services. The services that are typical of these groups include;
So, who runs CCG’s? Elected officials who often oversee the assignments of services, funds and resources include senior clinicians, GPs, nurses, care consultants and even lay members, to get a range of population and expertise. These tightknit groups help to oversee care for under 100,000 to over a million patients depending on area, and take part in initiatives like ‘local solutions for national challenges’.
Going forward with the coronavirus pandemic, its thought that giving more autonomy to CCGs to oversee local testing could aid compliance, and allow good co-ordination with a test and trace system. With this in mind, CCGs could add extra funding to support minorities who may be more prone to the environment, as well as assigning funds to those experiencing secondary syndromes from the infection like thrombotic events or chronic fatigue. To find what CCG you fall under and what governance they have over services near you, you can find the information following this NHS link: https://www.england.nhs.uk/ccg-details/