Commissioning in the NHS entails decisions about needs assessment, resource allocation, service purchasing, monitoring and review. As such, it is a vital focus for reform and improvement as the health service looks for new paths towards effectiveness and efficiency.
Commissioning defines the context in which secondary care trusts operate, and has an important impact on the way in which different organisations in the health service work together.
Radical changes to commissioning are at the heart of the coalition Government’s NHS reforms.
The Health and Social Care Act 2012 made important changes to the way commissioning functions in the English NHS, with GP-led clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) becoming responsible for purchasing the majority of care provided to local populations.
We are supporting local and national commissioners as they prepare for major reforms to the way care is commissioned
In the run up to, and during, the legislative process we published a series of studies looking at the implications of new structures in commissioning (access these via the publications listing below). We continue to examine commissioning practice both in the UK and abroad as part of our commitment to support effective implementation of the reforms.
Our research, analysis and debates aim to support the emerging clinical commissioning groups and NHS England (formally the NHS Commissioning Board), and track their development and impact.
Project highlights include:
- a major two-year study into how primary care trusts have commissioned care for people with long-term conditions, and continue to do so during the transition to GP-led commissioning;
- further work on developing a person-based risk-adjusted formula for allocating commissioning resources to general practices in England - this will include a detailed examination of risk-pooling mechanisms;
- research to inform the development of NHS England (formally the NHS Commissioning Board), drawing on research and practice in other member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
We have also produced a slideshow which provides an overview of the main changes to management, accountability, commissioning arrangements and funding structures resulting from the Health and Social Care Act 2012.
Photo credit: CDC/ Amanda Mills, Public Health Image Library