Six months have passed since ministers amended the Health and Social Care Bill to stipulate that the boards of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) - (which take over commissioning responsibilities from PCTs from 2013) must include at least one nurse member.
The bill is still progressing through Parliament; however, to date, 266 pathfinder CCGs are operating in shadow form, alongside PCT clusters. These are largely developing at their own pace and in their own ways, with ministers refusing to be prescriptive about structure. However, some stipulations were set out in the NHS Operating Framework, published last month.
For example, the framework clarified that CCG boundaries should 'as far as possible' be coterminous with a single Health and Wellbeing Board. It also confirmed that the annual running cost allowance for CCGs from 2013/14 is expected to be £25 per head of the population (compared with the DoH's previous estimate of £25-£35 a head). Some CCGs will have to rethink size and configuration as a result.
Snapshot of progress
In the past few weeks, as part of Independent Nurse's No Tokenism campaign to highlight the need for nurses to achieve real influence in commissioning, we have been asking nurses in England how involved they feel in the development of these new commissioning bodies.