Welcome to the first in a new publication series from NHS Providers in which we will be promoting the views of leaders from NHS trusts and foundation trusts, as well as those from other parts of the service, on some of the key issues facing the NHS today.
Each publication in our Provider voices series will consist of interviews with a select group of leaders to draw out the key themes for debate. We hope this will make a valuable contribution to discussions on how the health service can respond to the challenges ahead.
Our first topic is Where next for commissioning? which, in our view, is rarely at the forefront of debate. That needs to change. As the NHS moves to collaborative local system working via sustainability and transformation partnerships and accountable care organisations and systems, we need a full and proper debate about how commissioning (and provision) needs to adapt to this new, emerging, world.
There are a range of important questions to discuss: should the purchaser/provider split survive? As we move to strategically plan on larger footprints, is the current landscape of more than 200 clinical commissioning groups still the right one or is more consolidation needed? How do we ensure commissioning becomes more strategic and focussed on improving whole population outcomes as opposed to tactical, low value, high friction cost, contract oversight? How do we integrate health and care commissioning? And should we be trying to divert more resource away from commissioning to frontline patient care?
It’s great to have eight different sets of answers to these questions from a range of perspectives. We are grateful to the leaders who took the time to contribute to this publication. And we are grateful to Andy Cowper for carrying out the interviews.
Chief Executive, NHS Providers