From April 2013, local Government have had responsibility to look after the health and wellbeing of their local population. The report of the House of Commons, Communities and Local Government Committee on the role of local authorities in health issues, looks at some of the concerns raised around the transfer of responsibility for public health to local authorities. This includes the role and responsibility of Health and Wellbeing Boards (HWBs), which are central to the new system.
The report highlights some of the tensions in the new system, including the role of the HWBs whose members include councillors, GPs, directors of local services and community groups. With limited powers and no budgets, the HWBs will need to develop relationships and use their influence locally to ensure that their health and wellbeing strategies become a reality. HWBs will also need guidance and support from NICE and Public Health England.
Other concerns raised by the committee include weaknesses in the grant formula and the health premium. The report calls on the Government to provide local authorities with community budgets to direct resources at people and places rather than organisations.
The report also recommends that the Government addresses concerns about local authority and NHS access to each other's data.
For further information or advice please contact Jill Mason on 0121 456 8367.
NHS commercial: commissioning
Is consolidation in primary care necessary for survival?
Regular readers of our Health Commissioning Portal blog will have read posts regarding the new NHS (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No.2) Regulations 2013, and may share concerns regarding the scope of regulation 5 suggesting that there is only one circumstance in which it is not necessary to advertise contract opportunities (namely where there is only one capable provider).
Many GP practices are concerned that this requirement will lead to the majority (if not all) primary care contracts being advertised, allowing competition from the private sector.
In some areas, GP practices are coming together to form companies in order to compete with the large engine-rooms in organisations such as Virgin Care and Care UK. The thought is that these larger GP practice companies may be able to submit bids on behalf of practices, localities and federations as well as in their own right. They would then be able to compete more effectively with the larger commercial entities entering the primary care market.
But would such consolidation help? Granted a larger organisation may provide much needed support to small practices when it comes to submitting bids, but does it also come at a price? Would such a company protect the interests of member practices or exploit them to further its own interests? The extent to which any member practice can continue to operate autonomously once a member of a larger organisation remains uncertain.
So while consolidation may help with contract retention rates, practices should consider whether the support on offer outweighs the risks to their independence.
A version of this article first appeared on our Health Commissioning Portal blog.
For further information or advice please contact Chris Durham on 01223 222557.
NHS England delays deadline for tendering commissioning support
NHS England (NHSE) has sent a letter to CCGs to advise them that the deadline for tendering commissioning support services will now be pushed back until April 2016. This comes just over two months after it published guidance for CCGs which set the target date for formally procuring commissioning support services as September 2014.