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CCGs need full budget to see ‘bigger picture’

14 February 2012

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A CCG has made £15m of efficiency savings during its first year of shadow operation.

Warrington CCG Chair Dr Andrew Davies said the savings were down to the full £280m commissioning pot being fully devolved to the group ahead of authorisation.

While most of the savings are attributable to service redesign, local clinicans in Warrington also carried out service reviews to examine the cost-effective nature of healthcare services, which led to the continued stoppage of IVF services in the area.

“Most CCGs are still stuck developing specific pathways and are focused on small scale commissioning,” he said.

“Without taking on the full responsibility and accountability the total budget brings, it is difficult to see the bigger picture and to make efficiency savings.”

Dr Davies claims unless CCGs have been awarded the full delegated authority for the entire commissioning budget, they will inevitably “significantly underestimate” the scope and scale of what they are undertaking.

Through taking on the PCT’s commissioning budget in April 2011 – a year earlier than planned – Dr Davies told GPB the scale of the challenge “quickly became apparent”.

“The reforms allow everything to be blown apart, giving clinicans the ability to use their knowledge to improve services and strip away costs,” he said.

“While the PCT was performing well, it is true the CCG is much more able to make efficiency savings and ensure the sustainability of future healthcare services.

“If the PCT had been allowed to continue in the same way, everything would have fallen over.”

Dr Davies also told GPB there isn’t an “immediate peril” to CCGs should the Health Bill be withdrawn.

He said he has heard “whisperings” that the DH has a Plan B in place to ensure CCGs have a future. 

By Louise Naughton