Welcome to the Commissioning News online newsfeed. Here you’ll find all the latest research, news stories, policy updates and guidelines. View our other newsfeeds for more subject-specific news.


NHS financial sustainability 

National Audit Office | January 2019 |  NHS financial sustainability

The National Audit Office (NAO) has produced its annual report into the financial sustainability in the NHS. It concludes that the existence of  substantial deficits in some parts of the system, offset by surpluses elsewhere coupled with growing waiting lists and year-on-year increases in waiting times, does not paint a picture that is sustainable. 


The current funding flows in the NHS are complicated and do not support partnership working, integration and the better management of demand. Trusts also told the NAO that Sustainability and Transformation Fund payments made by NHS England have encouraged trusts to prioritise short-term gains over long-term sustainability which also resulted in reduced collaboration with other local bodies.

The NAO has made a number of recommendations to the Department, NHS England and NHS Improvement to ensure additional funding is spent wisely. This includes testing whether local plans to manage demand are realistic; ensuring key risks to delivery of the long-term plan are identified; and developing a sustainable long-term plan to support trusts in severe financial difficulty (Source: NAO).

Full report – NHS financial sustainability

Summary – NHS financial sustainability

ePub – NHS financial sustainability

NHS financial sustainability [press release]

The value of patient support programmes

NHS Confederation | January 2019| The value of patient support programmes

The recent publication of the Long Term Plan clearly demonstrates NHS England’s commitment to person-centred care, allowing people to better manage their own health and access personalised care when they need it. 

The NHS Confederation recently partnered with AbbVie to explore this issue in more detail, looking at the value of industry-led patient support programmes and some of the barriers to greater use of them for NHS patients with long-term or chronic conditions.

This briefing looks at what action is needed to overcome these barriers with the aim of encouraging more decision makers to consider whether they could contribute to improved and more personalised care of patients (Source: NHS Confederation).

The value of patient support programmes 


Note on Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Allocations 2019/20-2023/24

NHS England | January 2019 |Note on Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Allocations 2019/20-2023/24

A document from NHS England-Note on Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Allocations 2019/20-2023/24- sets out the changes made to target CCG allocations for 2019/20, our pace of change rules, and the assumptions used to set the overall CCG allocations growth rate. The CCG allocations for 2019/20 to 2023/24 published alongside this document are draft and subject to final approval by the NHS England Board on 31 January 2019 (Source: NHS England).

Note on Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Allocations 2019/20-2023/24


NHS Operational Planning and Contracting Guidance 2019/20

NHS England | January 2019 | NHS Operational Planning and Contracting Guidance 2019/20

This is the full guidance, building on the first part published in December 2018. It accompanies five-year indicative CCG allocations and sets out the trust financial regime for 2019/20, alongside the service deliverables including those arising from year one of the Long Term Plan. CCGs and trusts should take action from April 2019 to begin implementing the measures set out in the LTP (Source: NHS England).

NHS Operational Planning and Contracting Guidance 2019/20

A review of the role and costs of clinical commissioning groups

A review of the role and costs of clinical commissioning groups | National Audit Office

This review sets out:

  • changes to the commissioning landscape before CCGs were established
  • the role, running costs and performance of CCGs
  • the changing commissioning landscape and the future role of CCGs

The report identifies the importance of creating stable and effective organisations during the current restructuring of CCGs and that NHS commissioning needs a prolonged period of organisational stability to allow organisations to focus on transforming and integrating health and care services rather than on reorganising themselves.

Equality and Health Inequalities packs 2018

NHS England has published Equality and Health Inequalities RightCare packs for Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).  The packs consider measures of health inequality and aims to support CCGs and health systems to identify areas of improvement in promoting equality and reducing health inequalities. Previously such analysis has not been available at CCG level.  Packs are available for each CCG in the following areas:

Equality and Health Inequalities Pack:  NHS Rotherham CCG

Driving forward system working

NHS Providers | December 2018 | Driving forward system working: a snapshot of  early progress in collaborative commissioning 

A report,  Driving Forward System Working, commissioned by both NHSCC (NHS Clinical Commissioners)  and NHS Providers, explores emerging practice in systems that are rethinking the way in which they plan and design services at a local level to support the delivery of joined-up and sustainable care. It revisits views from leaders in CCGs, providers, national bodies and think tanks about the concept of strategic commissioning, particularly as CCGs are increasingly working together to focus on outcomes across larger geographies and reduce management costs. It also explores views about the likelihood that providers will take on more of the activities that NHS England (as a direct commissioner) or CCGs currently undertake – be that to help develop service specifications or lead on pathway redesign.

The report considers:

  • Commissioning arrangements
  • Enabling collaboration
  • Areas of divided opinion


Contributors to the report identified the following areas key areas for systems to consider which can either enable or impede the evolution of local commissioning models.

  • Strong leadership
  • A ‘bottom-up’ approach
  • Involving all system partners
  • One version of the truth
  • Supporting the workforce
  • Governance and accountability
  • Regulatory behaviour
  • Contractual mechanisms
  • Previous system failures
  • Legislation

(Source: NHS Clinical Commissioners )