Four months in & Clinical Commissioning Groups still don't know their budgets...

It’s almost four months since CCGs took control of local health budgets - but there is still a degree of uncertainty about how much they have to spend.

According to the GP online magazine "Pulse" analysis this month focuses on this uncertainty, and examines why CCGs still haven’t had their 2013/14 budgets sorted out, as highlighted by the National Audit Office this month. They  also discuss the distant clouds on the horizon forming as a result of the Chancellor’s plan for a £3bn pooled social care budget. These uncertainties are causing problems – one CCG claims its budget has been cut by £7m as a result.

All this comes in the same month that NHS England chief executive Sir David Nicholson set out plans for CCGs to find a further £30bn in savings.

Better news is that CCGs are taking proactive moves already to increase the amount of money given to primary care in the form of an increased local enhanced services budget, although there is a word of warning – Dr James Kingland argues that Section 75 could put paid to this.

This month has been a key month for commissioners and NHS England. Sir Bruce Keogh’s review into 14 failing hospitals will have significant repercussions for commissioners, and, according to "Pulse"  our five minute digest explains just why.

The debate on the A&E crisis shows no signs of abating. Our blogger Dr Jonathan Shapiro argues thatincentivising CCGs directly to reduce admissions is themost efficient way forward – something the health committee didn’t consider in its report on the subject,although it did brand NHS England plans ‘inadequate’.

There has also been a raft of news stories regarding commissioning in July – foremost, the news that NHS Direct has pulled out of NHS 111 and so commissioners will be forced to retender. And elsewhere, the King’s Fund offered an arresting finding that half of GPs have changed their clinical practice since becoming CCG members.

© Dr Rob Hogan 2017