Agenda item

Briefing Update from Clinical Commissioning Groups

Verbal update from CCGs on commissioning of services.


The Chair suggested that this item be considered in conjunction with the item, ‘New Legislative Framework Summary Report’.


Dr Phil Jennings, of the Wirral Health Commissioning Consortium, one of the three clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) gave an update on the latest situation with regard to the commissioning of services. The three CCGs were not geographically aligned and the Strategic Health Authority and the Department of Health had confirmed their expectation that CCGs should cover a defined geographical area. Having considered a number of options, the three CCGs had decided to look to adopting a federated model, whereby a single overarching governing body would be created with the three CCGs becoming sub-divisions of this one structure. The governing body, reflecting the spirit of the Health and Social Care Bill, would have seven GP representatives with seats allocated proportionately:


  • Wirral Health Commissioning Consortium – 3 seats
  • Wirral GP Commissioning Consortium – 3 seats
  • Wirral NHS Alliance – 1 seat


From this group would emerge one accountable officer which the group would be asked to nominate with the decision being taken nationally. There would also be patient representatives on the governing body along with an external nurse and external consultant from outside of Wirral.


The proposal would be taken out to all the GP Practices over the next few weeks and an application made to the National Commissioning Board in the summer with a view to a single Wirral CCG being signalled for authorisation from as early as October 2012 although it would not actually become a statutory body until April 2013.


Responding to comments from Members, Dr Jennings said that although people might draw comparisons of the new CCG with the previous PCT, the new body would be clinically led with many more clinicians involved. The new governing body was also a lot leaner in terms of a management structure. The new CCG structure would allow GPs to maintain some autonomy and he was confident that it would allow for navigation of the different health needs evident across the differing areas of Wirral. They would be examining ways to see how patient input could be captured across the 3 CCG sub-divisions and at least 2 patient representatives would sit on the governing body. Once the PCT clusters were disbanded in 2013 the main body above the CCGs would be the National Commissioning Body with regional outposts.


Gary Doherty, Acting Chief Executive of the Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, welcomed the CCG model being proposed which would mean the Trust dealing with one single body rather than with three.


The Chair referred to the briefing paper, ‘New Legislative Framework – Update’ which had been considered by the Scrutiny Programme Board at its meetings on 4 January and 28 February, 2012, and which had been produced by the Centre for Public Scrutiny. A summary report on the content of the Policy Briefing, and its implications for Wirral, had then been presented to the Scrutiny Programme Board on 28 February, 2012. The Chair referred in particular to that part of the paper on the Health and Social Care Bill. The Bill amended the scrutiny provisions in the National Health Service Act 2006. Powers were now to be exercised by the authority, rather than by a health overview and scrutiny committee. This provided more flexibility to local authorities in how they managed the delivery of their scrutiny responsibilities. This could enable creativity but risked dilution of independent scrutiny. Once the work of the Democracy Working Party was completed, the options for the most appropriate arrangements for health scrutiny would become clearer. The Chair suggested that every Member should receive this briefing paper.


Resolved –


(1) That the update on the Clinical Commissioning Groups be noted and Dr Phil Jennings provide regular updates to the Committee.


(2) That Committee would welcome regular updates on the implications of the Health and Social Care Bill.




The Chair then adjourned the meeting for a 5 minute break.


The Committee reconvened at 8.20pm and agenda items 9 and 10 were considered next.