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Local solutions to national challenges: Delivering our commitment to patients

Since NHS Clinical Commissioners published its first manifesto in 2014, we have had a new government and the publication of the Five Year Forward View. We feel therefore that this is the right time to refresh our “asks” of national government and national bodies such as NHS England and to set out how we see the future direction of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) as they work to the new agenda.

The aims of the Five Year Forward View correspond exactly with how CCGs see the future direction of the NHS. The principles of localism in health and social services – working with local partners on sickness prevention, self-care for patients with chronic conditions, health inequalities and care delivered in the community – are those to which CCGs, as local GPs, are fully committed. We have made an excellent start on tackling these issues and we find the possibilities
for the future truly exciting. CCGs have the energy and the expertise required to revolutionise our health service.

The themes of this report were developed with our membership and our elected board. The process has highlighted how CCGs have matured as organisations and are established bodies within their local areas. The many case studies in this report demonstrate the benefits of having doctors leading the design and shape of local health services.

What concerns us is how we keep CCGs protected at a time when it feels as though the environment in which they work is moving in an unhelpful direction. Our members highlight ever-growing bureaucracy with top-down priorities, a financial system that feels out of touch with long-term patient needs, and a reporting process that seems oppressive and insensitive to the local context. Here we are asking for some changes that will enable us to concentrate on our strategic role – transforming the health and wellbeing of our populations.