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Frequently asked questions

What are clinical commissioning groups?

NHS England has developed and oversees a comprehensive system of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), which have the responsibility for commissioning the majority of healthcare services.  This new system of clinical commissioning came into force on 1 April 2013 when the Primary Care Trusts, which previously commissioned services for local people, were abolished. 

CCGs are designed to unleash the potential for clinical leadership.  CCGs cover the whole of England and are accountable for how they use resources to secure quality care.  CCGs are responsible for securing the highest quality and outcomes for patients within the resources available to them.

This new commissioning system is led by GPs and other clinicians.  With clinicians who serve a local population of registered patients at their heart, CCGs have a strengthened knowledge of local health needs and the quality of local services.  Building on this knowledge they are able to lead service redesign with confidence and gain the respect and support of their colleagues across the health care system.

How do clinical commissioning groups work?

Through clinical commissioning, clinicians take the lead in working with patients to decide what range of services are needed for their local population and making sure that the specifications for those services delivers what is needed in terms of quality and outcomes.  Clinicians can use their knowledge of services and their contact with patients to identify where providers need to be supported and challenged on quality and outcomes.  They can help bring together leaders from across health and social care to agree priorities and design more integrated services.

What does clinical commissioning mean for GPs and GP practices?

Clinical commissioning means clinicians using their knowledge and expertise to lead and improve the commissioning process.  Clinicians work with the support of managers, some of them directly employed by CCGs and others working in commissioning support organisations.  Some GPs have formal leadership roles as part of the CCG’s governing body and bring together the views of member GP practices in the commissioning plans of the CCG.

CCGs are locally driven, identifying their own leaders - both those who will have a place on any decision-making body and those who run the organisation on a day-to-day basis.

What is NHS England?

NHS England is the national body that took effect from 1 April 2013 as part of NHS reforms. It acts independently at arm’s length to the Government to authorise and oversee healthcare commissioning.

CCGs are established, supported by and held to account for improving patient outcomes by NHS England.

What does the Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG Clinical Executive do?

The Clinical Executive is the workhorse arm of the CCG. They are the team that get things done and ensure that plans are implemented.

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