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What is a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)?

Clinical Commissioning Groups were introduced by the Government in 2010 in the white paper ‘Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS’ which endorsed a complete change in the structure of Commissioning services in the NHS.  The white paper set out the Government’s wider desire to create a clinically driven commissioning system which is more sensitive to the needs of patients. The subsequent NHS Health and Social Care Act 2012 established the formation of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England; these came into being on April 1st 2013.

All GP practices have to belong to a CCG and the aim is to give GPs and other clinicians the power to influence commissioning decisions for their patients.  CCGs will work with patients and healthcare professionals, and in partnership with local communities and local authorities, to provide and also design appropriate local health services.   The services which CCGs have a responsibility to commission include:

  • Elective hospital care
  • Rehabilitation care
  • Urgent and emergency care
  • Most community health services
  • Mental health and learning disability services

CCGs have a Governing Body (GB) which include local GPs, a least one registered nurse and a doctor who is a secondary care specialist. CCGs have geographical boundaries which do not usually cross those of the local authorities.  Clinical Commissioning Groups have a responsibility for arranging emergency and urgent care services for patients who live within their geographical boundaries, and also for patients not registered with a GP who live in their area

CCGs are overseen by NHS England which is a national body formed under the NHS Health and Social Care Act 2012. There are local offices of the NHS England who oversee CCGs in their area and also manage primary care commissioning, including holding the NHS contracts for GP practices.