London CCGs

What is clinical commissioning?

“At its simplest, commissioning is the process of planning, agreeing and monitoring services. However, securing services is much more complicated than securing goods and the diversity and intricacy of the services delivered by the NHS is unparalleled.”

NHS England

NHS Clinical Commissioners

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) were created following the Health and Social Care Act (2012), replacing Primary Care Trusts on 1 April 2013. They are clinically-led statutory NHS bodies responsible for planning and commissioning health care services in their local area. There are currently 207 CCGs in England.

Commissioning is about getting the best possible health outcomes for the local population. This involves assessing local needs, making decisions on the subsequent priorities and strategies, and then buying services from providers such as hospital, clinics, community health organisations etc.

Clinical commissioning is an ongoing process. CCGs must constantly respond and adapt to changing local circumstances. They are responsible for the health of their entire population, and measured by how much they improve outcomes for local people.

CCGs are:

  • membership bodies, with local GP practices as members
  • led by an elected governing body made up of GPs, other clinicians including a nurse, hospital consultant and lay members
  • responsible for around two thirds of the total NHS England budget, £73.6 billion in 2017/18
  • responsible for commissioning healthcare including mental health services, urgent and emergency care, elective hospital services, and community care
  • independent, and accountable to the Secretary of State for Health via NHS England
  • responsible for the health of populations ranging from under 100,000 to 900,000, although their average population is about 250,000

Clinical commissioners use data from different sources including local councils, Public Health England and NHS England, and their own expertise and knowledge to ensure that the services they ‘buy’ on behalf of patients meet the needs of their local populations. This means that across London, services look different.

In London, CCGs are responsible for over £11 billion which funds treatment for almost nine million Londoners. Across London the picture of health for residents is very variable. Clinical commissioners are committed to addressing the health inequalities through their work with providers in health and social care.