On 13 November 2013, the National Health Service Commissioning Board and Clinical Commissioning Groups (Responsibilities and Standing Rules) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 were laid before Parliament. The 2013 Regulations amend the previous 2012 Regulations which relate to the functioning and commissioning responsibilities of the NHS Commissioning Board (known as NHS England) and CCGs.

So what’s new?

The six amendments:

  • Provide for new duties for NHS England and CCGs in relation to NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) for example the discharge of patients from hospital.
  • Provide for greater choice for patients using mental health services as from April 2014.
  • Refer to the right to start consultant–led treatment within a maximum of 18 weeks of referral.
  • Create new duties for NHS England and CCGs in relation to the provision of personal health budgets for NHS CHC or continuing care for children.
  • CCGs continue to be responsible for commissioning NHS CHC for people whom they have placed in care homes or independent hospitals in the area of a Local Health Board in Wales.
  • Allow those individuals working for bodies which provide commissioning support to CCGs to be eligible members of Independent Review panels (IRPs). IRPs review the assessment process followed and decisions as to eligibility for NHS CHC in cases where patients are dissatisfied. This is welcome news for those CCGs struggling to find appropriate members from within the CCG with sufficient expertise and experience to be panel members.

The 2013 Regulations come into force in two parts. In relation to additional persons for whom a CCG has responsibility this comes into force on 16 December 2013, and the remaining provisions on 1 April 2014.