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CCG staff should make declarations of interest, says new guidance

31 March 2016

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Declarations of interest should be made by staff in clinical commission groups (CCGs), members of the governing body and committee members on a quarterly basis, according to new guidance on managing conflicts of interest.

NHS England has issued a “comprehensive package of measures” aimed at clamping down on potential conflicts of interest.

Chief executive Simon Stevens said: “In a tax funded health system, the public rightly demand high standards of probity from both NHS staff and health care suppliers.”

He said rules to bring greater transparency, tough restrictions on conflict of interest and clearer guidelines on industry partnerships and influence would benefit patients.

The new measures include revised guidance for CCGs, including keeping a publically available register of gifts and hospitality and increasing the number of lay members of CCG governing bodies.

 It is also launching an NHS task and finish group chaired by Sir Malcolm Grant to develop rules which will be adopted across the healthcare system.

NHS England has also published an assessment report which looked at how conflicts of interest are currently managed by CCGs and how they have implemented the existing statutory code.

The report highlighted good practice including some Primary Care Commissioning Committees which included retired GPs and GPs co-opted from another CCG to sit on the committee.

Other CCGs demonstrated proactive consideration of conflicts of interest before Primary Care Commissioning Committee meetings, giving the chairperson the opportunity to consider how to manage issues they knew about.

It also pinpointed CCGs which incorporated a review of general practice co-commissioning agreements and how to manage conflicts of interest in their internal audit plans.

However the assessment found that some sites lacked “clearly defined processes” to manage breaches or structured training.

Others needed to look at inconsistencies in minute taking and the procedures to declare conflicts of interest.

Recommendations include a blanket ban on accepting or offering hospitality if it is not practical or desirable from a business point of view.