Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) will be formed of member GP practices. From April 2013, CCGs will be responsible for commissioning local health services (strategic health authorities and primary care trusts will be abolished).
There are 212 CCGs in development, but the number may change if CCGs need to merge at any point.
A CCG will need to be 'authorised' by NHS England - it is expected that most will be 'authorised' and ready to take statutory responsibility for commissioning from next April.
Your practice and CCG membership
The Health and Social Care Act requires all GP practices to belong to a CCG. Where a practice has not signed up to a CCG, NHS England will allocate a practice to the most appropriate CCG.
NHS England will commission primary care and NHS England Local Area Teams will be responsible for performance management. Although the Health and Social Care Act 2012 does state that CCGs will play a part in improving the quality of primary care.
Membership of a CCG will automatically terminate where a practice ceases to hold a contract to provide primary medical services, however a CCG will not be able to 'expel' practices on any other grounds.
It is essential that you understand the components of the CCG constitution. We have prepared a checklist to help you check the content of your CCG constitution.
You should get advice from your LMC and the BMA if you are unsure about your CCG constitution.
CCGs are membership organisations - you have the right to refuse to sign these documents for your practice until your concerns have been addressed by the CCG.
Find out more about the constitutions of CCGs
Working for a CCG
All GPs, regardless of contractual status, should be eligible to stand for and vote in CCG elections.
Your practice should be resourced for any activity undertaken for the CCG, to ensure that patient services don't suffer as a result of GP time away from the practice.
Your CCG should have open and transparent policies for determining remuneration.
Seek advice from your LMC if you need help with remuneration for activity undertaken for your CCG.
A CCG's geographical footprint must include all practices in an area and not contain 'gaps' within the boundaries. Once CCG boundaries are defined and finalised, the CCG or CCGs a practice is eligible to be a member of will be dictated by geography.
While it would be feasible for a practice on the boundary of a CCG to change membership to a bordering CCG (thus retaining coherent geographical boundaries), practices in the centre of a CCG's locality would not have this option
See the NHS England map showing CCG boundaries
NHS Standard Contract FAQs
Will the use of the NHS Standard Contract change the procurement process? This and other questions on the NHS Standard Contract are answered as well as links to further advice.
Read the NHS Standard Contract FAQs
How the Local Medical Committee (LMC) can help you
Your LMC will help you to take part in the decisions being taken by your CCG. The LMC should help to ensure that your practice's relationship with the CCG is constructive and supportive.
If you are concerned about inappropriate developments in your area, you should make your concerns known - the LMC is ideally placed to mediate between practices and CCGs.
If the LMC is not being properly involved in the CCG of primary care trust cluster in your area, please email [email protected]