Sustainability and Transformation Plans - A major new development in commissioning health and care. Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) are joint plans produced by NHS providers, CCGs, local authorities and other health and care services (including VCSE partners) for 44 'footprint' geographical areas across England. These will form the basis for long term, place based planning and commissioning of services. This briefing from Regional Voices provides more details. It highlights how the six principles to support delivery of the NHS Five Year Forward View can help the voluntary and community sector get involved in developing the plans.

Commissioning rehabilitation services. Guidance for CCGs to support them in commissioning rehabilitation services for their local population. It contains evidence and examples of good practice, along with practical advice to commission good quality rehabilitation including ten top-tips. 

Guidance for commissioners of psychiatric intensive care units (PICU). This guidance was produced in partnership with the National Association of Psychiatric Intensive Care and Low Secure Units (NAPICU) to support the commissioning of high-quality PICUs and improve patient experience. It seeks to empower and enable commissioners, managers and clinicians to jointly develop high quality PICUs. It provides summary guidance which will assist commissioners to meet the needs of their local population, and achieve the ambitions of the Five Year Forward View focusing on patient safety, clinical effectiveness and patient experience.

Framework for patient and public participation in primary care commissioning. Guide for primary care commissioners in NHS England and CCGs on how to involve patients and the public in the commissioning of primary care services. 'Patients and the public' includes service users and carers, and participation in primary care commissioning refers to how people are involved in planning (including policy making and relevant programmes), buying and monitoring primary care services. 'Primary care' includes general practice, community pharmacy, dental, and optometry (eye health) services.

There is also information for patients and the public on How to get involved in primary care commissioning.

Smokers and overweight patients: soft targets for NHS savings? This report explores how widespread the practice of restricting surgery on the basis of weight or smoking status has become by examining the commissioning policies of CCGs in England. The report compares these against guidance produced by NICE, RCS and surgical specialty associations. It found that over one in three CCGs in England are denying or delaying routine surgery to patients - such as hip and knee replacements - until they stop smoking or lose weight, in contravention of national clinical guidance. 

Implementing the Cancer Taskforce Recommendations: Commissioning person centred care for people affected by cancer. This guidance is intended to support commissioners and strategic clinical networks to take the actions necessary to drive improved outcomes for person centred care through cancer commissioning. It describes the actions that need to be taken to ensure that every person affected by cancer will have access to the Recovery Package and stratified follow up pathways by 2020, including checklists for developing service specifications, practical examples and templates to use and adapt locally.

Commissioning person centred end of life care – a toolkit for health and social care. This updated guide identifies the main elements involved in commissioning end of life care services, explains the commissioning cycle in practical terms and offers a staged approach. It also provides a wide range of links to tools and sources of support for both commissioners and providers of services. It showcases good practice and seeks to indicate what a well-commissioned end of life care service looks like.


Developing a method to assist investment decisions in specialised commissioning. Seeks views on on a method to be used by NHS England's Clinical Priorities Advisory Group when comparing competing priorities when it meets to agree recommendations on the relative prioritisation of new investments in specialised services. The consultation closes on 11 May 2016.


NHS England takes robust action on conflicts of interest. Announces plans for a comprehensive package of measures aimed at clamping down on conflicts of interest and ensuring the NHS is one of the leading healthcare organisations in the world in tackling such issues. The plans include revised guidance for CCGs on managing conflicts of interest, that will contain a number of strengthened measures, e.g. publicly available registers of gifts and hospitality and increasing the number of lay members on CCG governing bodies to support conflict of interest management and provide extra scrutiny. The draft revised guidance will be issued for consultation in April 2016, with the final version scheduled for June 2016. There will also be a new requirement on providers in the 2016/17 NHS Standard Contract to maintain and publish a register of gifts, hospitality and conflicts of interest, to ensure that there is greater transparency in place.

Monitor is now part of NHS Improvement. Announces that from 1 April 2016, Monitor is part of NHS Improvement which brings together Monitor, NHS Trust Development Authority, Patient Safety, the National Reporting and Learning System, the Advancing Change Team and the Intensive Support Teams.