Baroness Hollins – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Baroness Hollins on 2016-03-07.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what safeguards are in place to ensure that the transfer of commissioning responsibility for Tier 4 obesity services from NHS England to Clinical Commissioning Groups does not have a negative impact on patient services or clinical standards, and how they will ensure that patients receive high quality, safe and effective care should that transfer proceed in April 2016.

Lord Prior of Brampton

Specialised commissioning teams at NHS England are in contact with clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and a formal process has been agreed to transfer the technical and service aspects of the commissioning responsibility.

This process includes NHS England leading on the contract negotiation for 2016/17 on behalf of CCGs based on the current service provision. Although the transfer is effective from April 2016 in terms of the contract values, the timing of the handover will be agreed between local specialised commissioning teams and CCGs, in line with their preparedness.

NHS England will continue to work with CCGs to provide support as appropriate.

NHS England does not expect the services patients receive to be affected following the transfer of obesity surgery commissioning responsibilities to CCGs from April 2016, as the change is primarily to commissioning responsibilities.

No service changes are included as part of the transfer process. The transfer process will include providing information to CCGs on pathways, provider performance and any quality issues relating to this service.

The transfer should support better integration between Tier 3 and Tier 4 services (which include obesity services) which in turn should improve access for eligible patient and streamline pathways. Clinical teams remain responsible for the quality of their services.

NHS England through its clinical reference group has finalised clinical guidance to support commissioners and clinical teams. We would also look to leadership from royal colleges and professional groups to promote best practice in this area. CCGs already have mechanisms in place to monitor provider performance and quality through the existing quality assurance processes.