On 1st July 2022 NHS Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care Board (ICB) became the new statutory body responsible for ensuring health care services are available to meet the reasonable needs of the people of Cheshire & Merseyside.
NHS Cheshire and Merseyside is required to have clinical commissioning policies that set out what services are available for our population as a whole and which are based on eligibility criteria.
As the successor body to the nine former Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) within Cheshire and Merseyside, we have inherited each CCG’s commissioning policies which set out what services are available for the CCG’s population as a whole and which are based on eligibility criteria.
Each CCG had a suite of policies with regards to the commissioning of various health care services. Having considered each policy, it is evident that, in respect of the commissioning of some health care services, a degree of variation existed between the CCGs. Where this is the case, it is acknowledged by NHS Cheshire and Merseyside that there is a need to develop and implement a single suite of commissioning policies across Cheshire and Merseyside as soon as possible so that the commissioning of these services is consistent and applicable across Cheshire and Merseyside going forwards.
Where there is no such variation between the CCG policies, NHS Cheshire and Merseyside has nonetheless determined that, in view of the age of the policies, there is still a need for those policies to be reviewed and for a single suite of commissioning policies across Cheshire and Merseyside to be developed.
Developing a single Cheshire and Merseyside wide suite of commissioning policies will require a formal process to be adopted, including a review and consideration of the latest evidence based clinical practice and engagement with patients, the public and other key stakeholders across Cheshire and Merseyside, including with local authorities. In view of the variation between existing policies, and in some cases the age of the existing policies, it is essential that any single suite of commissioning policies for Cheshire and Merseyside reflects and is based on up-to-date clinical practice and research, but also takes into account the current commissioning landscape, the changing needs of the Cheshire and Merseyside population and the duties on NHS Cheshire and Merseyside to ensure that health care services are available to meet the reasonable needs of the population. NHS Cheshire and Merseyside recognises the need for this work to be carried out in a timely manner and plans to be in a position to adopt a single suite of commissioning policies across Cheshire and Merseyside by 1st April 2023.
In the meantime, NHS Cheshire and Merseyside will continue to adopt and operate the CCG policies it has inherited at Place/borough level, which means that there will be no immediate change in commissioning policy for local people resident in those Places/boroughs from what was in place prior to 1st July 2022. There would appear to be no justification or clear rationale for seeking to amend these policies at this stage without a formal review process having taken place.
We will report our progress on the development of the new Cheshire and Merseyside wide policies through regular updates via our website and through our local networks within communities.