What does Commissioning mean?

  • Commissioning is the planning and purchasing of NHS services to meet the health needs of a local population.
  • This includes elective Hospital care, rehabilitation care, urgent and emergency care, community health services and mental health and learning disability.
  • Prior to April 2013 Primary Care Trusts were responsible for commissioning services, it is now the responsibility of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG’s).
  • The NHS Commissioning Board (NCB) will allocate budgets to CCG’s and hold them accountable using quality standards and patient outcomes.
  • The NHS Commissioning Board has been renamed NHS England, however still has the same remit as previously.

Clinical Commissioning Groups

  • Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG’s) are the cornerstone of the health system.
  • There are over 7,500 General Practitioner (GP) practices in England and they are now part of a CCG.
  • There are over 200 CCG’s in total.


Clinical Commissioning Groups commission the majority of health services, including;

  • Emergency care
  • Elective Hospital care
  • Community and mental health services
  • They will be responsible for a budget of more than £65 billion of public money
  • Approximately 60% of the total NHS budget

Clinical Commissioning Group Members

CCG’s are made up of doctors, nurses and other professionals who use their training and knowledge of the local health needs to plan and buy services for their patients from any service provider who meets NHS standards and costs. The providers could be NHS Hospitals, private Hospitals or voluntary organisations. This means; Better care for patients which is designed with knowledge of local services, commissioned in response to their needs.

NHS England structure

NHS England is a National organisation which has area teams. Their role is to deliver the Department of Health’s ambitions for the NHS working with commissioners and providers of services. They will directly commission;

  • GP Practices
  • Dentists
  • Pharmacists
  • Optometrists
  • Specialised services such as HIV care or heart transplants