What is a clinical commissioning group?
In April 2013, the NHS went through the biggest changes to its structure during its 65-year history. Clinical Commissioning Groups were introduced giving GPs responsibility over the majority of local health services.
‘Clinical commissioning’ means planning, buying and monitoring health services. Each CCG is an NHS organisation made up of local GPs who, with support of other healthcare colleagues, decide how to spend the NHS budget on health services for their own local area. This includes the care and treatment you receive if you go into hospital, mental health services, prescription medicines and community health services such as district nurses and physiotherapy.
Why give GPs this responsibility? Because there is a strong belief that, as they are the people who see patients every day, they understand better than anyone what those patients need.
It is up to the CCG to make sure that the health services it commissions meets the health needs of the local population and must keep checking that the best possible treatment and care is being provided for the people who need it. The views of patients are essential in this process and you can read more about how you can get involved here.
- Act with integrity
What about primary care services?
At the same time CCGs were created, a new national organisation was also introduced called NHS England. NHS England has a regional team covering Greater Manchester and it commissions primary care services – such as your doctor, dentist, pharmacist and optician – along with some specialist services.