SHCA - the evidence on co-commissioning specialised services

NHS England is taking forward plans to ‘co-commission’ the vast majority of specialised services with local Clinical Commissioning Groups.

To date, ‘co-commissioning’ has not been fully defined by NHS England. The Specialised Healthcare Alliance has reviewed the materials published on the subject to date and prepared a primer which pulls this together.

Worryingly, this suggests that co-commissioning will go significantly beyond greater collaboration between national and local commissioners – a longstanding priority for the Alliance – and is instead intended to see ‘place-based’ budgets for specialised services across the country.

Alliance members fear that such changes to budgetholding would risk bringing about a return to the ‘postcode lottery’ of standards and access to specialised services previously seen before such services were commissioned nationally.

Accordingly, the SHCA is calling upon NHS England and Ministers to provide firm assurances that the budget for specialised services will continue to be held at national level, next year and in future.

The primer on co-commissioning can be accessed here.

SHCA – Co-Commissioning Primer – January 2015