Specialised Services

Specialised services are those which cannot sensibly be planned, procured and provided at a local level, typically covering a population of more than one million people. Specialised services matter to everyone. The Health and Social Care Act 2012 enables the Secretary of State for Health to prescribe (specialised) services to be commissioned directly by NHS England having regard to:

  • the number of individuals who require the provision of the service or facility;
  • the cost of providing the service or facility;
  • the number of persons able to provide the service or facility;
  • the financial implications for clinical commissioning groups if they were required to arrange for the provision of the service or facility.

Collectively, specialised services treat hundreds of thousands of patients every year. Many specialised services provide for people with rare genetic disorders, while anyone might need to call upon others, such as spinal injuries and serious burns. Since April 2013, NHS England has been the sole direct commissioner of all specialised services, with the budget for it representing a significant proportion of overall NHS spend.

The need to make the most efficient use of scarce clinical expertise to provide high quality services for patients means that specialised services are usually delivered from a limited number of hospitals across the country. Specialist treatment managed from a small number of treatment centres is, however, compatible with local delivery of care for many conditions, much of the time.

If you have information about provision of specialised services that you would like to bring to our attention or if you would like to know more about the SHCA, please contact us at: team@shca.info