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Nine of 42 ICBs to be given commissioning powers next month


Nine of 42 ICBs to be given commissioning powers next month

Nine integrated care boards (ICBs) will take on responsibility for commissioning pharmaceutical services from next month, NHS England and Improvement has said in a letter to stakeholders.

NHSE&I’s chief delivery officer Mark Cubbon told the chief executives and chairs of ICBs as well as the heads of NHS Trusts and clinical commissioning groups that nine of the 42 ICBs in England that are expected to be put on a legal footing and assume CCGs’ responsibility for primary medical services from July 1 will take on responsibility for commissioning for one or more pharmaceutical, ophthalmic and dental services in primary and secondary care and in the community.

The plan is to delegate commissioning powers for those services to all ICBs, which are part of integrated care systems (ICSs), from April 1 next year. ICSs are partnerships between NHS bodies, local authorities and other local organisations that will plan and deliver joined-up health and care services to people across the country.

Independent Community Pharmacist has asked NHSE&I to clarify which nine ICBs will take on delegated commissioning responsibility from July 1. The former chief pharmaceutical officer for England Keith Ridge described it as “very significant” and tweeted: “The local, collaborative relationships at ICS and place level and within and across the whole pharmacy sector will be key.”

NHSE&I said all 42 ICBs will need to sign an agreement that supports delegated commissioning powers for pharmaceutical, ophthalmic and dental services. The Boards will manage NHS budgets and develop plans in collaboration with NHS Trusts and other stakeholders for health services, ensuring local populations have support in areas including sexual health, drugs and alcohol, domestic abuse and mental health.

“By giving ICBs responsibility for a broader range of functions, they will be able to design services and pathways of care that better meet local priorities. They will also have greater flexibility to integrate services across care pathways, ensuring continuity for patients and improved health outcomes for the local population,” Cubbon wrote.

A review on how ICSs could transform primary care in England, recently published by NHSE&I, highlighted roles for community pharmacy in urgent care and prevention including the early diagnosis of cancer.

NHSE&I said it has started work to determine how commissioning for health and justice, sexual assault and abuse services, which will remain its responsibility, could be jointly shared from April 2023. NHSE&I also said that while it will maintain commissioning responsibility for cancer screening and Covid and flu immunisations, its regional teams are working towards determining which services might be delegated from April 2024.








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