Commissioning support begins to take shape: private sector to the fore

Friday 17 February 2012

Commissioning support services (CSS), a central feature of the new NHS, are looking likely to involve the heavy use of private companies.

CSS will help clinical commissioning groups make commissioning decisions. Many of the services will involve ex primary care trust (PCT) staff and will be 'hosted at arms length' by the NHS Commissioning Board from 2013. At the same time they are expected to be 'standalone enterprises', selling their expertise as required.

A report by Health Service Journal (HSJ)revealed CSS are being encouraged to make links with the private sector, via a series of regional events.

Companies involved include Ernst and Young, Capita, and UnitedHealth.

HSJ believes there will be about 40 such bodies; at the moment there are 24 operating. Business plans drawn up by PCTs on the creation of CSS have to be submitted to strategic health authority clusters by March.

DH guidance on commissioning support has emphasised the importance of commercial partnerships.

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