NICE 'will ensure consistent care in commissioning landscape'
NICE guidance and quality standards will help provide consistent care for patients within the new NHS commissioning landscape, say experts.
From April 2013, the new NHS commissioning structure will mean that clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) take on budgets for their local areas.
As a result of the changes to the system, CCGs can expect a range of challenges and opportunities as they take on their new role, such as ensuring the care they provide is comparable with that in other areas.
At the NICE webinar on commissioning held yesterday, experts on the panel agreed that NICE has an important role to play in the commissioning landscape, working with the Outcomes Framework to help ensure that there is no regional variation in care.
Dr Paul Husselbee, Accountable Officer at Southend CCG, said: "The introduction of the Outcomes Framework and how that's going to be a measure of how we're doing should hopefully make care standard across the country, and we won't see what people call ‘the postcode lottery'."
Dr Stephen Shortt, GP and Clinical Lead at NHS Rushcliffe CCG, said that while there might be some inevitable local variance, NICE guidance and quality standards will guarantee the same core elements of the patient journey.
He said: "Indicators at a CCG level will allow us to ensure that the outcomes for the patients are the same whatever the area.
Professor Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive of NICE, said: "Quality standards set out what high quality care looks like, and I am keen that as many of the standards as possible are underpinned by routinely collected indicators, so that we can get a picture across the country of how well care is improving."
She added that this will allow patients to see where there might be inappropriate standards, which can then be addressed.
During the webinar, audience members were asked a series of questions, including what they thought might be the biggest tests for CCGs once the new structure is in place.
Around 37 per cent of respondents felt that ‘balancing the books' would be the biggest challenge, while 30 per cent felt that improving quality of care might be the biggest test. Only 8 per cent felt that working with the Commissioning Board might present the largest challenge.
Professor Leng commented that she was not surprised with the answer given, as these top two responses come back as key issues, sometimes perceived as directly in conflict with each other.
"How do you improve quality at the same time as balancing the books? Bearing in mind that NICE's role is about bringing value for money, it's acutely important to us to support that as best we can," she said.
"We do have a programme of looking for disinvestment opportunities to support CCGs in doing that. I would advise that people do look at areas where disinvestment can be made to support new quality initiatives."
NICE has range of schemes to help with disinvestment. These include its database of 'do not do' recommendations, which collects the disinvestment recommendations for where an intervention should be discontinued completely, or not used routinely in clinical practice.
The Cochrane QIPP collection also summarises evidence-based disinvestment recommendations that can save resources and improve quality of care.
To hear more about commissioning in the new NHS landscape, register to attend the NICE Annual Conference 2013.
Taking place on 14-15 May 2013 at the ICC in Birmingham, the conference will feature a stream on commissioning, including a workshop on what commissioners may need in the new system and how NICE can help.
Missed the NICE webinar? It's now available to watch on-demand.
29 November 2012