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368 The Story of Parliament


NHS England


A public body assisting clinical commissioning groups in England to adopt NHS reforms


A major reorganisation Te reorganisation came after the publication of the wide-reaching 2012 Health and Social Care Act. Te initial idea of the then Health Secretary Andrew Lansley was that funding be given directly to GPs to administer. However, given that few GPs had any experience of dealing with such vast budgets, the Department of Health instead set up Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), made up of GPs, nursing professionals, hospital doctors and members of the public. Tese CCGs would buy services for their own section of the population, allocating resources as they see fit. NHS England’s prime function is to oversee


F


ollowing the 2010 election, the Coalition government set about reorganising the way in which the NHS


commissioned health services from providers. Out went the Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities that, for more than a decade, had commissioned primary, secondary and community health services. In came an executive non-departmental public body tasked with overseeing the budget, planning, delivery and day-to-day operations of the commissioning side of the NHS in England. Initially called the NHS Commissioning Board, the body was established in October 2012 and renamed NHS England in April 2013. It currently employs around 6,500 staff in sites around England, with a base in Leeds. Its aim is to place patients and the public at the heart of healthcare. And, after lobbying from online campaigners, it is fully transparent about the way in which it allocates around £96 billion in funds each year.


and provide support for CCGs, particularly with issues like IT strategy, patient safety and quality improvement. It provides specialist commissioning for conditions that affect a small number of people, and also commissions GP services, something that CCGs can’t do as it would mean GPs commissioning from themselves. “We encourage patient and public participation


in the NHS, treat them respectfully and put their interests first,” says Simon Stevens, who took over as Head of NHS England in April 2014. “At a time when resources are tight,” says


Stevens, “we’re going to have to find new ways of tapping into what I call our sources of ‘renewable energy’.” Stevens identifies three such sources. First, to boost “the critical role that patients play in their own health and care”. Second, to support “the amazing commitment of carers and volunteers and communities to sustain their health and social care services”. And third, “to unleash the passion and drive of the million-plus frontline NHS staff who are devoting their professional lives to caring”. — www.england.nhs.uk


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