Clinical Commissioning Groups…fancy doing a survey?

6 Aug

I have recently been doing the monumental task of looking through each of the 211 new clinical commissioning groups (these replaced Primary Care Trusts) websites. Clinical Commissioning Groups are a flagship health policy of the Coalition, giving spending control of 60% of the NHS budget to groups of practitioners – notably General Practitioners or GPs. They have been told to be transparent, and must hold at least one public meeting per year. They went live in April this year after a one year shadow phase.

So you want to know what your local clinical commissioning group is doing? What characteristics do these websites have?

  • They all tell you who the Board members are…but few give any possible way to contact them. Many do provide a secretariat email and phone number and how to submit questions at the meeting.
  • Some are acting as groups and when you try to find out who is responsible for engagement, they tell you they outsource this…sadly the people they signpost you to tell you that this is NOT part of their contract
  • Some have a social media presence but many don’t even have an obvious email address but instead you have to use a web contact form – maybe it’s just me, but I hate those. Plus my email address has an unusual but valid ending and these forms won’t accept it
  • Many have a lot of empty sections
  • Most signpost the public to PALs and Healthwatch
  • Most have a survey
  • All give Freedom of Information details
  • Many phone numbers are based in other health settings and receptionists sometimes struggle to put you through to the CCG itself
  • Some have really great newsletters
  • Some have lovely videos introducing themselves

The very best examples I found so far were in Birmingham, with commitments to live streaming meetings, blogs and really good social media presences. A strong example was also found in Cannock Chase with a CCG TV page. Stafford and Surrounds also have their own CCG TV page. I also liked Dr Vicky Playdell (Chief Clinical Officer – Hambleton, Richmondshire & Whitby CCG) blog – Vicky’s Voice

I found the London area CCG’s the most difficult to find information on the whole – although, if you have any examples I might have missed please let me know and I will happily update this post.

There is a lot of work to be done, unless engagement means turning up to watch a board meeting or filling in a survey where someone else has decided what they want you to talk about.

Some twitter feedback added 12.30 7/8/13

CCGs blog twitter feedback1

CCGs blog twitter feedback2

CCGs blog twitter feedback1


4 Responses to “Clinical Commissioning Groups…fancy doing a survey?”

  1. Michael Cook August 6, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    Hi Emma,

    Have you seen the introductory video that we made for Leeds S&E CCG? We’d be interested to hear what you think.

    Here’s the link:


    • huxley06 August 7, 2013 at 9:50 am #

      Thanks for the comment and adding in your link. I can see that people have clicked on it already! So that’s good. I had seen and retweeted this vid a few weeks ago. I think people expect information to be presented in a simple way (which takes a sophisticated skill set). I love this. The length is just right too. It is lovely that you went back to the birth of the NHS films for inspiration. Now film making and sharing is so easy, and people share such content for fun, authorities that hold such decisions really need to step up to public expectation in getting information.

      • Jane Lodge August 13, 2013 at 7:29 am #

        Thanks Emma for this interesting piece of work! Totally agree that engagement needs to be much much more than surveys and board meetings! We are doing lots here in Brighton and Hove CCG- it would be great to meet with you to tell you about it, and also get your views on how we can continue to improve.
        And just loved the Leeds S & E CCG animation!!


  1. Shadow politics: Three reasons why public services feel increasingly less public - August 11, 2013

    […] on the public services we all pay for. Emma Daniel who writes the excellent blog Huxley06, has researched how the new Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), established by the Health and Social Care Act […]

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