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Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are clinically led, statutory NHS bodies responsible for the planning and commissioning of health care services for their local area. CCGs are responsible for commissioning secondary and community care services; they also have a legal duty to support quality improvement in primary care.

Commissioning is about getting the best possible health outcomes for the local population. This involves assessing local needs, deciding priorities and strategies, and then buying services on behalf of the population from providers such as hospitals, clinics, community health bodies, etc. It is an ongoing process. CCGs must constantly respond and adapt to changing local circumstances. They are responsible for the health of their entire population and measured by how much they improve outcomes.

CCGs are membership bodies, with local GP practices as the members. Each CCG is led by an elected governing body, made up of GPs, other clinicians, including a nurse and secondary care doctor and lay members. The CCG Constitution provides further information about the governing body, its composition and how members are elected.

CCG Membership

A CCG is made up of its member practices and the Governing Body is accountable to the members. These member practices must decide how the CCG will operate, through developing the CCG constitution within the legislative framework. They must ensure that the CCG is led and governed in an open and transparent way, which allows them to serve their patients and population effectively.

As a membership organisation, it is the CCG members that must ensure the CCG complies with the full range of regulations and legislation to ensure the group is governed appropriately. CCG members are legally accountable for meeting these obligations through acting in the best interests of the organisation, patients, their carers and the wider CCG community. 

Duties of a CCG

A CCG's overarching duty is to involve patients and the public. Further duties of the CCGs include: 

  • Exercise its functions effectively, efficiently and economically
  • Obtain appropriate advice
  • Promote education and training
  • Promote integration
  • Promote the NHS Constitution
  • Promote innovation in the provision of health services
  • Promote patient choice
  • Promote research on matters relevant to the health service, and the use in the health service of evidence obtained from research
  • Reduce inequalities in respect of access and outcomes.
  • Secure continuous improvement in the quality of services provided or in the prevention, diagnosis or treatment of illness

A CCG also has a general financial duty to:

  • Ensure its expenditure does not exceed the aggregate of its allotments for the financial year
  • Ensure its use of resources does not exceed the amount specified by NHS England for the financial year
  • Take account of any directions issued in respect of specified types of resource used in a financial year to ensure the CCG does not exceed an amount specified by NHS England
  • Publish an explanation of how the CCG spent any payment in respect of quality made to it by NHS England

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