West Essex: New NHS leader given green light

THE West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will become officially responsible for buying healthcare services for people in Uttlesford following approval by the NHS Commissioning Board last Thursday (February 21).

From April 1, the GP-led organisation will be run by a combination of clinicians and NHS managers.

It will have a budget of around £318 million to spend on NHS services including hospital care, mental health services and community services.

To achieve authorisation, West Essex CCG completed a rigorous process to show it is ready to lead the NHS in Uttlesford, Harlow and Epping Forest.

The group has been operating in ‘shadow form’ since April 2012, as PCTs prepare to hand over commissioning responsibility, and has been working to take over the role of designing and buying local health and well-being services.

West Essex CCG had to evidence its capability against 119 different criteria. It met 114 and although a number of conditions remain to be demonstrated, these will not affect the CCGs fitness to conduct its role.

Chairman of the group, Dr Rob Gerlis, a GP in Harlow, said: “Having been authorised with only five conditions is terrific news and is testament to 12 months of hard work, commitment and dedication from every member of staff, as well as tremendous support from our 39 GP member practices and all our partner organisations.

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“We are passionate about ensuring people in west Essex receive the best possible, high quality care they deserve. We were able to anticipate these conditions, and plans are already in place to address, therefore we are confident the National Commissioning Board will be satisfied with progress of those plans in time for April.”

He added: “We want patients to be at the heart of everything we do and we committed to involving local people in decisions affecting the healthcare received and to improving their health.”

To get involved in influencing the work of West Essex CCG, register as a member at westessexccg.nhs.uk