Press release

The future of specialised services outlined in report

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A report published today has set out recommendations on which health services treating rare and uncommon conditions should be nationally commissioned from April 2013.

Health services which treat rare and uncommon conditions and illnesses, like AIDs, cleft lips and rare genetic conditions, are called specialised services. 

Because these conditions are more unusual the health services which treat them are not provided by every local hospital, but instead are often found in larger hospitals based in bigger towns and cities.

Although Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) will be responsible for buying and planning the majority of health services from April 2013, specialised services need to be organised differently and commissioned on a wider scale.
A new national model for these services, aimed at improving service access, quality and efficiency, and reducing variation, is being developed by the NHS Commissioning Board. This will be led by ten of the NHS Commissioning Board’s Local Area Teams working closely with the health care providers of specialised treatments and CCGs. This will ensure that all patients will have equal access to high quality services irrespective of where they live.

The report by the Clinical Advisory Group for Prescribed Services has outlined what specialised services they are recommending to be commissioned across the country by the NHS Commissioning Board.

Headed up by Dr Kathy McLean, former Medical Director for NHS East Midlands and member of the Independent NHS Future Forum, the group included clinical specialists, health professionals and GPs.

The recommendations that the group have put forward to the Department of Health will help ensure that these specialised services will be more comprehensively planned, ensuring more patients can get easier access to these vital services.

Health Minister Lord Howe, said:

“The NHS is there to treat all of the public’s needs, including those with rare and uncommon conditions. It is vital that these services are not only available to the public, but that they are of the highest possible quality.

“I have accepted the core recommendations of the Clinical Advisory Group’s report which sets out the list of specialised services for the Board to commission. I would like to thank Dr. Kathy McLean and the other experts in the group for their hard work over the past few years.”

Kathy McLean, chair of the Clinical Advisory Group said:

“I am very grateful to the members of CAG for all their hard work that was carried out to a very challenging timetable. I think that publication of the report will bring clarity to commissioners, clinicians providing the services, patients and patient groups.”

The Department of Health will now consult with the NHS Commissioning Board on these recommendations. A final set of regulations will be published later in the year which will specify the services to be commissioned.

Notes to Editors:

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The report can be found on the DH website.