England’s 211 CCGs will be able to co-commission primary care in partnership with NHS England under new powers announced by NHS England chief executive, Simon Stevens on 1 May.

NHS England has written to all CCGs with details of how to submit expressions of interest for taking on enhanced powers and responsibilities to co-commission primary care.

CCGs will need to describe the additional powers and responsibilities they would like to assume. NHS England has said that applicants will be required to meet a number of criteria, including showing they will help advance care integration, raise standards and cut health inequalities in primary care. CCGs will also need to demonstrate “how they will ensure transparent and fair governance – with a continuing oversight role for NHS England to safeguard against conflicts of interest”.

Applications need to be submitted by 20 June, the same date that CCGs will complete their initial five – year plan for local NHS services. Each applicant CCG will then discuss its proposal with the local area team of NHS England, which will then make a recommendation to the Board of NHS England.

This new initiative has been welcomed by NHS Clinical Commissioners who highlight in their manifesto the need for “a more coordinated approach at all levels so involving local commissioners in local primary care decisions “. However, reaction from commissioners and other healthcare leaders is mixed according to a recent Health Service Journal report.

Labour has raised similar concerns about NHS England’s bid to share primary care commissioning with CCGs saying that it would create conflicts of interest.