Watchdog's inspection reveals a gulf between clinical groups

Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been told to improve following an inspection by NHS England.

Saturday, 23rd July 2016, 3:00 pm
Updated Saturday, 23rd July 2016, 3:09 pm
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In contrast, Fylde and Wyre CCG has been branded ‘outstanding’, ranking it among the top 10 in the country.

The CCGs, responsible for organising and buying healthcare for patients, were told of their rating following their annual assurance assessments – the health industry’s version of an Ofsted inspection.

Nationally, NHS England found 10 CCGs to be outstanding, 82 to be good, 91 to require improvement, and 26 to be inadequate, after inspecting five key areas.

Blackpool CCG, based in offices inside a stand at Bloomfield Road, was rated good in three of them, for being well led, delegating functions, and for its overall performance.

But it was rated requires improvement for planning, and inadequate for finance – leading to its overall ranking.

Chief clinical officer, Dr Amanda Doyle, said: “We are obviously disappointed with this overall assurance rating.

“While we are pleased that we were deemed to be ‘good’ in three of the five areas assessed, we acknowledge that there are improvements needed.

“A substantial part of this assessment process relates to our financial performance and this was the area of most concern.

“In 2015/16 we delivered a surplus of £563,000 which was lower than the £2,455,000 requested by NHS England and this impacted greatly on the overall rating.

“We are seeing a growing demand for healthcare services and the pressure on our resources is greater than ever. As a result, over the next few months we will need to make difficult decisions about the services we commission.”

Fylde and Wyre CCG was rated good in four areas, and outstanding for being well-led – landing it in the top five per cent across the country.

Its role in several projects, including the recently announced Healthy New Town at Whyndyke Farm was a recognised, while its sound financial management was also commended.

Chief clinical officer, Dr Tony Naughton, said: “Our staff, practices, and partners should rightly be extremely proud of this outstanding rating, which recognises their commitment over the last three years to improve the health and wellbeing of the Fylde and Wyre population.

“Our story is one of strong clinical leadership, extensive engagement, longer-term planning, and innovation.”

The government will pump £1.8 billion into trusts with the aim of reducing the combined deficit to around £250,000 next year, it was announced on Thursday, following the release of the ratings.

Several other measures are being put in place too, including capping the cost of interim managers in CCGs, new financial controls, and replacing national fines with trust-specific incentives, NHS England said.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: “Precisely because the pressures across the NHS are real and growing, we need to use this year both to stabilise finances and kick-start the wider changes everyone can see are needed.”

David Behan, chief executive of the Care Quality Commission, added: “The challenge for trust boards is to leverage this relationship between financial grip and good care.

“And through our inspections, we’ve seen this achieved in practice.”