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Kent and Medway Strategic Commissioner Update February 2018

Date published: 27/02/2018

The Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across Kent and Medway are looking at options for developing a strategic commissioner function that works across multiple CCGs. The aim is to strengthen how CCGs work together, where doing so can drive service improvements that our patients need and expect.

Making strategic commissioning decisions across multiple CCGs is good because it provides consistency and reduces duplication; both for ourselves and the hospital, community and mental health services we work with. It will help improve services for patients by reducing variation in quality and access to care and will drive up standards across all providers.

A formal proposal to establish a strategic commissioner and share a single senior management team with one accountable officer (chief executive) is being considered by CCG governing bodies at meetings in January/February 2018. Six of the eight CCGs have agreed the proposal. South Kent Coast will confirm their view following a meeting of their GP membership on the 22 February. Although Thanet CCG are not pursuing a path to be a part of formal arrangements, they will continue to work with the other CCGs on development of the strategic commissioner and on a range of strategic service improvement plans as they recognise that there are functions they currently undertake which could be usefully undertaken at a larger geography.

The strategic commissioner will be established in a shadow form from April 2018.

To prepare for the new arrangements the accountable officers of the CCGs are taking on additional transitional roles from February. Details are outlined below:

STP Officers

In the coming months the CCGs will be working together to design where the different functions of commissioning need to sit and how to ensure the local voice of clinicians and patients is heard at the strategic level. We will be working with staff, member practices and lay-members of the CCGs to consider how current functions should be split across a strategic commissioner and individual CCGs.

Could this lead to the CCGs merging?
A merger of CCGs is one potential option for the longer-term which we will be discussing in the coming months, but it is not the only option and no decisions have been made at this stage. A proposal to merge would require all the CCGs involved to seek the support of their membership practices, and NHS England would also have to approve.

Best wishes,

Glenn.

Glenn Douglas
Chief Executive
Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership