Alcohol, drugs and tobacco: commissioning support pack

Annually updated alcohol, drugs and tobacco commissioning support pack for local authorities | Public Health England

This commissioning support pack will help local authorities to develop joint strategic needs assessment and local joint health and wellbeing strategies which effectively address public health issues relating to alcohol, drug and tobacco use.

The pack covers 4 topics, which are:

  • planning alcohol harm prevention, treatment and recovery in adults
  • planning drugs prevention, treatment and recovery in adults
  • planning comprehensive interventions for young people
  • planning comprehensive local tobacco control interventions

For each of these topics, there are:

  • a set of good practice principles and indicators to help local areas assess need and plan and commission effective services and interventions
  • bespoke data for each local area to help them commission effective services and interventions

Documents available via Public Health England


Strategic commissioning

Steering towards strategic commissioning: transforming the system | NHS Clinical Commissioners

Clinical commissioners are playing a key role as architects of the changing health and care landscape, analysis shows. A new publication by NHS Clinical Commissioners sets out CCGs’ vision for the future and what they need to get there at pace so they can deliver more for patients.

Image source:

Steering towards strategic commissioning shows there is a strong belief that healthcare commissioning must continue to be clinically led, operate at a scale larger than a CCG footprint, retain its purchasing function and remain accountable to the local population.

The analysis, which was informed by a survey and interviews with CCG leaders, shows that CCGs are embracing change, with 77 per cent of those surveyed intending to contract for a new care model in 2017/18, and 72 per cent planning on increasing their collaborative commissioning.

Related: The Changing Commissioning Landscape

Depression in children and young people

NICE has published a guideline on identifying and managing depression in children and young people aged between 5 and 18 years.

This guideline covers identifying and managing depression in children and young people aged between 5 and 18 years. Based on the stepped care model, it aims to improve recognition and assessment and promote effective treatments for mild, moderate and severe depression.

Image source:

This guideline includes recommendations on:

Full guideline: Depression in children and young people: identification and management

Specialised Commissioning

Specialised Commissioning Service Development Policy | NHS England

This service development policy  sets out NHS England’s approach for making decisions about which new treatments and interventions to routinely commission, and the approach used for updating existing service specifications, or creating new ones.

It is intended to ensure that funding is allocated fairly and appropriately, with due
regard to the competing demands on NHS England’s available funding.

This policy is accompanied by two methods documents: Methods: National Clinical
Policies and Methods: Service Specification which set out the processes in detail.

Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Profiling Tool

This tool has been developed to support an intelligence driven approach to understanding and meeting need| PHE

It provides commissioners, service providers, clinicians, services users and their families with the means to benchmark their area against similar populations and gain intelligence about what works.  It collates and analyses a wide range of publically available data on: prevalence, protective factors, primary prevention (adversity and vulnerability) and finance. It provides commissioners, service providers, clinicians, services users and their families with the means to benchmark their area against similar populations and gain intelligence about what works.

Tool structure – indicators are presented in 5 domains:

  • Identification of need
  • Protective factors
  • Primary prevention: Adversity
  • Primary prevention: Vulnerability
  • Finance

Within this domains, indicators are grouped by geography (predominantly county and local authority but also Clinical Commissioning Group) and then ordered by topic (e.g.adversity associated with poverty, abuse and neglect, family difficulties and parental difficulties).


Improved support for personal health budgets

NHS England says it has improved support for personal health budgets. It includes training courses for professionals who are new to the subject, introductory webinars and workshops for teams who want to expand local support for the programme | NHS England


The Next Steps on the Five Year Forward View published in March 2017 further promotes supporting disabled people and people with complex health needs through personal health budgets, with plans to reach in excess of 40,000 people by 2019.

The Personal Health Budget Delivery Team’s programme of support draws on the evidence and learning from the successful pilot programme, the implementation so far of personal health budgets in NHS Continuing Healthcare and in other areas, and draws on examples of best practice nationally.

The support includes:

  • Access to regional support, advice and workshops via dedicated Regional Managers
  • Regional network meetings
  • Continuing Healthcare masterclasses
  • Action learning sets
  • Online learning network: A members-only online space for asking questions and sharing learning with other areas.
  • Tools, guides and stories, supporting people to understand and implement personal health budgets.
  • Specialist networks: including in NHS Continuing Care, mental health services, children’s services, and services for adults with learning disabilities.
  • Policy and practice advice via the Q&A section of the learning network.
  • Workforce development and culture change: advice on how to develop leadership among professionals and access to experts by experience.
  • Evaluation: Tools to help you to measure progress and demonstrate results.

Find the programme of support for September 2017 here

As a GP, I’ve seen how vetting hospital referrals can help patients

The NHS is rolling out a scheme that makes non-urgent hospital referrals subject to approval. With safeguards, it can make for a fairer, more efficient system | The Guardian


The latest scare story about the NHS suggests that GP referrals to hospital will be increasingly vetted by a panel of other doctors who will have the power to refuse or allow patients access to specialist services. The NHS is rolling out a scheme that requires all family doctors in England to seek approval from a medical panel for all non-urgent hospital referrals, including hip and knee surgery, cataract removals, X-rays and scans. The “peer review” scheme is being expanded nationwide from next week following a pilot in two regions in the north-east.

Full news article available here