CCG response to media coverage of Clinically Effective Commissioning

Wednesday 4th April, 2018

Last week there were some local stories in relation to the work across Sussex and East Surrey to make policies and procedures consistent for patients.

We want to share the latest headlines from this work:

  • The CCGs in Sussex are working together as part of a review to standardise the non-emergency treatments and procedures available to patients across the region;
  • The review, led by local doctors, is aimed at ensuring that services offered to patients meet the latest guidelines from national experts and deliver value for money for the NHS budget; 
  • At present there can be differences in the criteria used by local GPs to determine when patients should be referred for tests and treatment; 
  • This issue, often referred to as a “postcode lottery”, means that some patients are not receiving treatment when they should, purely because of where they live, while others are receiving NHS-funded procedures that offer little or no clinical benefit;
  • Referral criteria are set by the seven GP-led CCGs in the region. Local GPs, hospital doctors and other specialists are assessing these policies through the ‘Clinically Effective Commissioning’ review and will be recommending a standard set of criteria for all of the CCGs to adopt;
  • So far they have only looked at policies that are already in place, for treatments that are already not routinely funded on the NHS. This is not about putting new restrictions in place, or putting in a policy in place for a treatment that is currently routinely funded;
  • The CCG has agreed more than 25 updated policies, that are now consistent across Sussex, and only two have had changes to the CCG's previous policy (gallstones and hernias) and these are on the basis of new clinical information so that patients get the most appropriate care;
  • Concern has been raised about cataract, and treatment for the second eye, but there is no change in Coastal West Sussex and people will be funded for surgery on their second eye if the "cataract affected eye meets the thresholds of worse than 6/12 visual acuity or glare affects their ability to manage their activities of daily living". 

Later this year there will be further work to look at other policies where there are more significant differences in the approach from the different CCGs, and where patient and public engagement is needed to look at the options. We will keep you updated on this and the opportunities to get involved.

Read more about the Clinically Effective Commissioning programme.