Patients across the country will benefit as the NHS receives a cash injection of up to £100 million to boost services in their communities, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced today.
The Department of Health is providing up to £100 million in additional funding to doctors in emerging Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to improve local services and reduce pressures on the NHS during the colder months.
Clinicians in these groups will spend the money directly on local care services that best meet their patients’ clinical needs and prevent unnecessary admissions to hospital. For example, prospective Clinical Commissioning Groups could use the funding to:
• provide more effective cover for urgent care services
• improve out of hours services for patients
• improve local arrangements with nursing homes
• extend GP practice opening times, or
• commission any service which supports patients in the community and in their homes to help avoid unnecessary visits to hospital.
This is the first time these prospective clinical groups have been given money to spend on patient services. They will have £2 per head of population made available to them via their Primary Care Trust (PCT) cluster to spend this financial year.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said:
“I am pleased to be able to give the NHS up to £100 million in extra funding to spend directly on local frontline care for their patients during the winter months.”
“This is the first time emerging Clinical Commissioning Groups - made up of GPs and other local clinical professionals - have been given money to spend on services for patients. This additional funding, available due to good management of the Department’s central budgets, will harness the expertise of local clinicians who know better than anyone, what their patients need.”
“Moving decision-making closer to patients will mean ‘no decision about me without me’ and ensures that patients receive the right care according to their individual needs. This more effective and efficient way of working will see savings reinvested in front line NHS care.”
Many prospective Clinical Commissioning Groups are ready to take responsibility for investments of this kind and will be supported by their local Primary Care Trust cluster, who will sign off their plans. The funding must be used to improve patient services - it cannot be spent on running costs.
The funding will enable prospective CCGs to implement measures which support their longer term plans to improve services for patients.
CEO of North East Essex CCG, Dr. Shane Gordon said:
“This funding will ensure that the quality and speed of health services in our area is maintained during the winter. As a local GP, I work with patients and colleagues in our Clinical Commissioning Group; together we plan our health services to deliver the best possible care to our population. The extra funds are a welcome boost during a demanding part of the year”.
This is the first time that the Department has specifically identified funding for PCTs to delegate to prospective CCGs for patient care, although individual PCTs have been delegating elements of their commissioning funds to emerging CCGs and Pathfinders during 2011/12 as part of their development. In the first half of 2011-12, about £29 billion had been delegated to CCGs to spend on providing services for patients.
Notes to editors
1. For further information, contact the Department of Health Press Office on 020 7210 5221.
2. PCT clusters will be required to inform their SHA cluster by the end of February 2012, how their share of the frontline commissioning funding has been utilised.
3. Any funding which will not be utilised must be returned to the Department by the middle of February to spend on patient care elsewhere in the NHS.