NHS chief executive Simon Stevens has announced upcoming changes to regional healthcare commissioning, during questioning from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in a committee meeting on 27 February.
There will be a new reorganisation of how NHS services are commissioned in parts of England, as NHS ‘transformation’ areas will receive ‘governance rights’ at the end of March, Stevens revealed.
At the end of last year, NHS England tasked regional teams, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), trusts and local authorities with forming regional footprints and writing plans for how the NHS Five Year Forward View would be delivered within them.
The NHS chief told the PAC that the 44 sustainability and transformation plan (STP) footprints will be put in charge in regional areas, and be able to ‘marshall’ CCGs and NHS England regional teams.
The changes will abolish the purchaser/provider split in certain areas, meaning that CCGs and service providers will become joined-up.
NHS England will give ‘a lot of the details’ about the changes in about four weeks’ time Stevens said.
It was also revealed that between six and 10 STP areas would be launching as accountable care organisations (ACOs).
The accountable care organisations are expected to bring providers together with responsibility for an agreed health and social care budget.
‘We’re going to formally appoint leads to those STPs. We’re going to give them a range of governance rights over the organsiations within their geographical areas, including the ability to marshall the forces of the CCGs, the local NHS England staff,’ Stevens said.
He said that the ACOs would, for the first time since 1990, ‘effectively end the purchaser provider split bringing about integrated funding and deliver for a given geographical population.
‘So this is pretty big stuff, and people are pretty enthusiastic about it,’ he said.
It is ‘about time’ that NHS England and the Government ‘admitted that the massive reorganisation caused by the NHS Health and Social Care Act has been a scandalous waste of time and money,’ Deputy GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey said.
Four years since the act came into force, CCGs are now merging back to the equivalent size of their previous PCT.
Dr Dean Eggitt, Doncaster LMC medical secretary said: ‘To make yet another costly change to the NHS when we are struggling to deliver care in a debt riddled NHS is, quite frankly, stupid.’