Initial thinking on the design of the new NHS Commissioning Board was published today with the launch of ‘Developing the NHS Commissioning Board’.
The document aims to give a sense of direction to stakeholders, partners, pathfinders and staff who may potentially work for the Board.
In the foreword to the document, Sir David Nicholson, Chief Executive of the NHS and Chief Executive designate of the new Board, said:
‘Building this new system over the next two years whilst delivering for our patients, increasing productivity and improving the quality of care, is a major challenge.
‘But I firmly believe that the end we are trying to achieve – a stronger, more innovative and more coherent commissioning system – will be critical to sustaining the NHS in the years to come.’
‘Developing the NHS Commissioning Board’ describes the Board’s potential culture, style and leadership. It also outlines the processes needed to ensure it achieves maximum health benefit for the nation from the resources invested.
While all of the proposals remain subject to the passage of the Health and Social Care Bill, the publication of this document will allow the design principles to be challenged and tested through co-production.
Many features of the proposed commissioning system are new, but there is also important continuity with the current system. The vision for improving outcomes builds on the improvements the NHS has made in areas such as reducing waiting times, tackling infections and reducing mortality. And it also builds on the vision for systematically improving the quality of care set out in ‘High Quality Care for All’.
In his foreword, Sir David Nicholson also said:
‘We will always seek to ensure things are done at the right level of the new system, consistent with the principle of subsidiarity.
‘So clinical commissioning groups will be the engine of the new system and things will only be done at a different level of the system where there is evidence that this produces better results. The role of the centre will be to support and hold local groups to account, not to domineer or micro-manage.
‘The new system also clearly demonstrates the principle of clinical ownership and leadership. From clinical commissioning groups at the most local level, right up to the organisation of the Board nationally around the five domains of the “NHS Outcomes Framework”, clinical leadership is written into the DNA of the new system.’