Clinical commissioning groups: supporting improvement in general practice

This report provides an overview of the development of clinical commissioning groups prior to formal launch in April 2013.

In this video, clinical commissioners discuss how engaged GPs are with the new model of clinical commissioning.

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are a core part of the Government’s reforms to the health and social care system. Formally established in April 2013, they control around two thirds of the NHS budget and have a legal duty to support quality improvement in general practice.

The King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust are working together to assess the implementation and impact of CCGs. Between 2012 and 2015, we are following the evolution of clinical commissioning in six case-study sites and will publish the findings annually.

There is a great deal of support for what clinical commissioning groups are trying to achieve: to become locally driven decision-making bodies that provide better care for their populations Holly Holder, Fellow in Health Policy, Nuffield Trust and report co-author

Clinical Commissioning Groups: Supporting improvement in general practice? by Chris Naylor, Natasha Curry, Holly Holder, Shilpa Ross, Louise Marshall and Ellie Tait is the first report from this programme.

Based on fieldwork conducted before CCGs had become fully authorised, it provides an overview of developments through to March 2013 together with assessment of the opportunities and challenges ahead.

The report authors found that:

  • CCGs have an important opportunity to support improvement in general practice but will need to strike a careful balance if they are to perform this function without alienating their GP members;
  • There needs to be greater clarity on how responsibility for the development of primary care is to be shared between CCGs and NHS England area teams;
  • NHS England area teams will not have sufficient capacity to monitor or manage GPs’ contracts closely and will need to delegate some of their responsibilities to CCGs;
  • Levels of member ownership and involvement in CCGs are highly variable, and there are some significant disparities between the views of CCG leaders and member GPs;
  • There is a foundation of goodwill on which CCG leaders can build. Converting this into active support and engagement is one of the most pressing challenges ahead.

The report is part of: The evolution of clinical commissioning: learning from local experience, a joint project with The King's Fund which aims to understand the development of CCGs and the challenges they face. The project began in November 2012 and will continue until 2015, with an interim report each year detailing findings to date.


The King's Fund

Suggested citation

Naylor C, Curry N, Holder H, Ross S and Marshall L (2013) Clinical commissioning groups: supporting improvement in general practice. Research report. Nuffield Trust and King's Fund.