Subject to having been authorised in Waves 1 or 2 and to there being no relevant conditions in their authorisation decision letter and no directions imposed by the NHS CB, CCGs can from 1 February 2013 enter into contracts to commission secondary medical services (broadly speaking, acute hospital, mental health and community services) that are to be delivered from the 1 April 2013. This means that where a CCG has been authorised, it can enter into the 2013/14 NHS Standard Contracts with secondary care providers, which will cover services provided to NHS patients in the Contract Year 2013/14 and beyond.
Generally, authorisation empowers a CCG to do anything that is intended to aid the discharge of functions conferred on it and this is so notwithstanding that CCGs will not assume full statutory responsibility for their functions until 1 April 2013. In fact even where a CCG has been directed by the NHSCB not to exercise a function, the CCG can exercise its general power “to do anything which is calculated to facilitate, or is conducive or incidental to, the discharge of any function” (section 2 of the 2006 Act) to take action for the purpose of preparing itself to exercise that function.
As part of their general power CCG can also enter into arrangements with local authorities under section 75 of the National Health Service Act 2006 in relation to services to be provided from 1 April 2013. Regulations made under Section 75 of the National Health Service Act 2006 (NHS Act 2006) will be amended to enable CCGs to form partnerships of their own with local authorities in due course. However, initially CCGs are likely to take over any existing section 75 agreements which PCTs include as transferring to CCGs in their Transfer Schemes.