21 October 2014

Co-Commissioning Primary Care: An Opportunity For Community Led Co Design?

Over the last year, clinical commissioning groups have been busy developing their five year strategies. Prompted by NHS England’s calls to action around primary care, they have simultaneously been thinking about how GP care in particular needs to change. It is perhaps not surprising then that when invited, just under 90% of CCGs expressed an interest in co-commissioning primary care.

Primary care transformation and whole system changes signaled in 5 year strategies are inextricably linked. You cannot transform care without building capacity in the community.

People who use services – especially those living with long term conditions and young families – tell us that their relationship with their GP is a key determinant of their experience. Not only do they want access when they feel unwell, they want the reassurance that comes from continuity of care and feeling their GP knows and understands them and their condition.

People also tell us that they really worry about their medicines; about being followed up and reviewed. They often mistrust the medicines prescribed for them, believing that protocols and guidelines come first, and that getting the optimal medicines for the person is unimportant to their GP.

These kinds of insights teach us that there is a lot we can do to improve the primary care experience for those who use the service most.

NHS England has described its vision for commissioning as:

“…patient-centred and outcome based. The patient must be placed at the centre of planning and delivery. Commissioners, working with providers, must deliver improved outcomes across each of the five domains of the 2013/14 NHS Outcomes Framework”

This definition applies to co-commissioning of primary care as well.

The exam question is, what needs to happen so that primary care can respond to what matters to people?

Co-commissioning provides an opportunity to work this out together.

Whilst co commissioning is currently understood as a process of coproduction between NHS England Area Teams and CCGs, the bigger opportunity is for co-commissioning of primary care to become a process of coproduction between communities, people who use primary care, providers and commissioners.

This is the vision of co-commissioning that we will explore at NHS Alliance’s annual conference on 04 December 2014. Led by NHS Alliance’s People Powered Improvement Network and bringing together leaders on co-commissioning policy and practice, we will work together to explore how to commission, design and deliver sustainable primary care that enables people and families to take control of their health and live fulfilling lives, supported by primary care teams who are able to do their best work.

Sign up for the conference and join us so that you can turn co-commissioning into a timely opportunity to put people at the centre of transformation.

Georgina Craig
NHS PPI Network Lead
Tel: 07879 480005
Email: georgina@gcraigassociates.co.uk