The commissioning system - payment and structures in the NHS

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We need an NHS that puts patients first. We need a system that enables doctors, nurses and others on the front line of the NHS to deliver the safest, most effective care, in whatever setting is most appropriate for each patient’s needs.

Some commissioners and providers are already working together to overcome the barriers to sustainable and joined-up patient care. Now government and regulators must now support the system to scale up these efforts. As the NHS faces some of the greatest financial pressures in its history and an ageing patient population with complex care needs, it is vital that policymakers and system leaders dismantle the barriers to a stronger, more sustainable and more patient-centred NHS.

The RCP’s Putting the pieces together: removing the barriers to excellent patient care sets out the importance of dismantling the barriers to joined-up patients care and empowering the health service to plan for a sustainable future. Drawing on the experiences of physicians on the front line of patient care in England, this report is a call to action. We look to our partners across the system – government, regulators, commissioners and providers – to work with us to find the solutions.

We also look to physicians working in hospitals and communities across England to help play their part in improving the way that NHS services are planned, commissioned and funded. How physicians can influence the commissioning system: a guide to getting involved is a practical guide designed to help make sense of the different ways that physicians can influence the planning and commissioning of patient care. It aims to help physicians to get involved in shaping the way patient care is designed and delivered locally, regionally and nationally.

Commissioning secondary care in England: what does it all mean? This new resource for physicians decodes the often complex world of commissioning, contracting, and payment systems in the NHS in England and explains some of the key terms and concepts involved in planning and paying for secondary care. It also sets out in simple terms who is responsible for commissioning each area of health and care in England.

Collaboration in Clinical Leadership: the role of secondary care doctors on CCG governing bodies­ This report on the role of secondary care doctors on Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) governing bodies was launched in partnership with NHS Clinical Commissioners, the membership body for CCGs. It includes five case studies from different parts of the country to highlight how secondary care doctors are having a real impact in this role. It also includes tips for CCGs and secondary care doctors to get the best out of working together.