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A role for community nurses in commissioning local services

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The NHS is facing great reform as it is deemed unfit to meet the challenges of healthcare. A main example of this is changing demographics, with a steep increase in the number of older people living longer with multiple and sometimes complex, long-term conditions.1

Alongside this is an increase in diseases of modern lifestyles, with attention from healthcare professionals focused on encouraging people to make healthier lifestyle choices.2 These challenges are set against unprecedented financial circumstances; to achieve quality care for all, while facing cuts to services presents a huge challenge for health professionals.

Clinical commissioning groups

One attempt at improving health outcomes is giving local clinicians the power to commission health services. Commissioning is defined as a set of complex activities geared towards assessing the needs of local populations and putting services in place to meet those needs.3 It has been evolving through policy; but previous attempts have not been deemed enough.

As a result, the introduction of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) under NHS England has led to the abolition of SHAs and PCTs, instead giving 80 per cent of funding to GPs who will use 'any qualified provider' to commission services, which meet the needs of their population. Figure 1 reveals the steps involved in the commissioning process.

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