Share

Charity consultancy body set to benefit from GP commissioning plans

NCS support wheel
News

Charity consultancy body set to benefit from GP commissioning plans

Finance | Tania Mason | 3 Feb 2011

A commissioning support agency set up by the MND Association, MS Society and Parkinson’s UK is set to reap the benefits of the new commissioning landscape outlined in the Health and Social Care Bill.

The three charities set up Neurological Commissioning Support (NCS) in 2007 to test whether it could effectively provide commissioning support to the NHS. Three years on, it is providing paid consultancy to primary care trusts in Gloucestershire, Surrey, and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, has been deemed by an independent evaluation to be highly effective, and is now planning to register as a limited company.

Sue Thomas, chief executive of the NCS, told Civil Society that the PCTs hired NCS to make recommendations about how neurological services could best be delivered locally from a service-user perspective.

“We do external consultation with patients, a Joint Strategic Needs Assessment with the public health department, and carry out gap analyses.  We look at what is working and what isn’t, and how much it is costing.  Then we make recommendations for redesigning the services that the PCTs will be commissioning, using a shared decision-making process with service-users.”

The three charities do not provide services to patients, so there is no conflict of interest.

Thomas said the recommendations range widely – in one case NCS identified that local GPs were sending patients to see neurologists when some of the issues could have been dealt with at a primary care level, so the agency arranged training for them. In another, NCS recommended that district nurses be allowed to give steroid therapy at home rather than making patients travel to hospital.

Thomas said NCS redesigns of service provision had generally resulted in significant cost-savings to the NHS as well as high levels of user satisfaction.

Staff from all three charities contribute time to NCS as required.  It is currently constituted as a partnership but intends to become incorporated as a limited company this month.

Significant interest from other charities

Thomas was not aware of any similar agency set up by charities but said there had recently been significant interest in the model from other health groups, notably the Mental Health Providers Forum and the gastro charities.

“Andrew Lansley (Health Secretary) seems to like us,” she said. “He keeps using us an example of what the sector could be providing in terms of commissioning support.”

She said the new Health and Social Care Bill, which hands responsibility for commissioning local health services to GP consortia, was expected to be good for business.  “GPs are seriously going to need helping commissioning neurological services so it is probably going to be a boost to us in terms of selling our services.”

Thomas refused to be drawn on criticism from opponents to the Bill that it paves the way for privatisation of the NHS. She said: “Our job is to concentrate on the nitty-gritty, trying to get services right for people living with long-term neurological conditions.

“Obviously we want services to be provided by the best possible means and that might include bringing in the private sector.  But our priority is improving services to get the best possible outcomes for service-users.”

Thomas said NCS’ biggest benefit is its national overview, which gives it insight into lots of different ways of providing services. Thomas added. “It really helps in localities where there is a bit of a silo mentality.  We have a really broad picture of how services might be able to be delivered.”

Lansley: Real opportunity for sector

During a meeting with healthcare professionals from the specialist MND Care Centre last week, Andrew Lansley said: “I’m not looking for individual GPs to be commissioning services for these kind of complex, neurological conditions.  Rather I’m expecting GP consortia on a much bigger scale or for more to come together in a broader network to commission services. 

“There is also an opportunity for some of the voluntary sector to put themselves forward, like the MND Association, MS Society and Parkinson’s UK have done to form a commission support organisation. I think that presents a real opportunity for us.”

Comments

[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The civilsociety.co.uk community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear

Please:

  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Free eNews

Get involved or risk bad charity policies, fundraisers told

30 Jan 2015

Fundraisers need to be more involved in policy-making or risk the government “losing the plot” when...

Unicef launches record £2bn appeal to combat 'new generation' of crises

30 Jan 2015

Unicef has launched its biggest ever appeal to raise funds for "growing numbers" of children experiencing...

CFG policy head questions 'worrying' comments by Bubb over 'too many charities'

30 Jan 2015

The new policy head at the Charity Finance Group, Andrew O’Brien, yesterday labelled as "worrying" comments...

Shawcross reappointed as chair of the Charity Commission

29 Jan 2015

Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office, has reappointed William Shawcross as chair of Charity...

Commission shows ‘real improvement’ but many concerns remain, says Public Accounts Committee

29 Jan 2015

The Charity Commission has been praised by Margaret Hodge, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, for...

Commission to investigate charitable school over private benefit from leisure centre and dating agency

29 Jan 2015

The Charity Commission is set to open a statutory inquiry into Durand Education Trust, a charity connected...

NGO domain pages will launch in May

28 Jan 2015

The Public Interest Registry will make the .ngo generic top-level domain name generally available from...

Comparison website for special needs services launched by charity consortium

23 Jan 2015

A coalition of social care charities has launched a TripAdvisor-style website, designed to help families...

CRUK debuts contactless giving through shop windows

21 Jan 2015

Cancer Research UK has announced a collaboration with outdoor media owner Clear Channel to bring contactless...

Join the discussion

 Twitter button

@CSFinance