Single Entity Proposed for All Health and Social Care Services in Lancashire

A new report has suggested that healthcare in Lancashire could benefit from a single CCG-type entity.

This new authority would then oversee and commission all health and social care in the county.

And a new counsellor position would be created in order to provide the casting vote on the board of the new organisation.

The document, commissioned by Lancashire county council, suggests a new “integrated commissioning authority” would hugely benefit the way healthcare operates in the region.

This would effectively assume responsibility from the strategic commissioning function from the county’s eight clinical commissioning groups.

Consultants PwC are responsible for the document, although there is a lack of clarity at present over the future direction of clinical commissioning groups in the region.

Nonetheless, PwC describes the new commissioning body as a “partnership between the county council and health partners”.

The consultancy firm envisages social care and public health provisions transferring into NHS trusts permanently by the end of the decade.

This would result in five integrated care providers that PwC terms ‘wellbeing corporations’.

Amanda Doyle, accountable officer at Blackpool CCG, questions of the lack of transparency involved in the production of the report in question.

“None of the organisations within our sustainability and transformation plan had input into, or sight of this report before it was published. It contains a lot of assumptions and some of the proposals would be outwith legislation.”

But Doyle does offer broad support for the concepts contained within the document in principle.

“From my point of view I’m really supportive of the principle of aligning health and social care commissioning, and we have been working on an integrated strategic commissioner for the county. We will continue that work with the council.”

The report emphasises the important of “democratic accountability [being] central to the model. This will need to be embedded at both commissioner and provider level.”

And the document goes on to explain the way that healthcare will operate in the region once this new system has been implemented.

“The legal structure for the commissioner could initially be set up as a virtual entity that is managed as a system… representation from the NHS will sit on the board alongside upper tier councils as the other major funders. The [county council’s] preferred view for the integrated commissioning authority is that the casting vote would sit with an elected representative.”

A detailed review of the report from a working group is likely before anything is put into practice.

 

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