Frequently Asked Questions

What are Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs)?

A clinical commissioning group is the name that has been given to a group of local GPs and other health professionals who are responsible for “commissioning” – planning, designing and paying for your NHS services.

Clinical Commissioning Groups are responsible for commissioning health services. This includes planned and emergency hospital care, rehabilitation, most community services and mental health and learning disability services.

What is commissioning?

Commissioning is the term used in the public sector for planning and buying services. It is a structured way of deciding how public money should be spent.

In the case of the NHS, commissioning relates to providing health services. Commissioning healthcare and health services is the process of examining:

  • The healthcare needs of the area
  • The way in which healthcare services are delivered
  • Ways in which healthcare resources can best be used

By using this information the different health and support needs of people can be identified and a wide range of services can be funded (commissioned) to meet those needs.

What does this commissioning provide?

This isn’t an exhaustive list. But the main elements include:

  • hospital care
  • rehabilitation care – such as visits from district nurses
  • urgent and emergency care – the out-of-hours GP service, ambulance call-outs, A&E
  • community health services
  • mental health and learning disability services

Don’t forget, the CCG doesn’t deliver these services directly – they are commissioned by the CCG and delivered by other organisations.

What is the CCG’s budget?

We currently have a budget of £224m for this financial year.

What is the size of the population we serve?

We serve a population of approximately 200,000 through 19 member practices across the three localities. Further details can be found on our The Local Area page.

Do you just work with other organisations in the NHS?

No. We work closely with partners including local councils (Aylesbury Vale District Council and Buckinghamshire County Council), the local voluntary sectors and a range of private providers of healthcare.

Are there any parts of local healthcare that aren’t commissioned by the CCG?

The main one is core GP services. GP services are commissioned by the Local Area Team of the NHS Commissioning Board.

The other local services we are not directly responsible for are those that make up what is sometimes called “primary care” – pharmacies (chemists), dentists and opticians.

Who leads the CCG?

The CCG has a Governing Board. This is largely made up of local GPs and other clinicians with many years of direct service in communities throughout the area. Each now dedicates part of their working week directly to CCG business, while for the rest of their time they continue in general practice.

There is a senior management team, who sit on the Governing Board, which includes experts in finance and commissioning.

What do the changes to the NHS mean for patients?

When you visit your local GP practice you should not notice any difference. However, over time you may see some changes to the way local health services are delivered, including care that is available closer to home. We are committed to patient choice, quality and safety and accessible services.

Your local GP may be able to offer alternative treatments to more traditional methods of care, when deciding what support you need. If it is appropriate you will also be asked by your GP for your views about the full range of services which are offered to ensure you are involved in decisions about your care.

I’ve heard some services will be offered at a much more local level by GPs, what does this mean?

Most of our services will be developed with the needs of our wider CCG populations in mind.

However at other times we may need to develop services at a much more local level offered by individual GP practices to closely reflect the needs of their patients. For example if a GP practice has a higher number of patients with a particular condition then they may look to provide a service that treats them quickly and more locally.

Any decisions we make will be based on local needs, clinical effectiveness and the feedback from our patients and our staff.

If GPs are busy commissioning, does this mean they will lose touch with their patients?

Commissioning decisions can run alongside caring for patients. The CCG is supported by management experts within the NHS. By investing time in commissioning, GPs are placing patients at the heart of commissioning decisions.

Consistent engagement from our patients and GPs is key to commissioning. This is why we are really keen to hear the views of everyone when planning services for the future.

How can I find out about GPs’ performance?

The Office of National Statistics publishes information on GP patient satisfaction surveys, their salaries and the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) – a voluntary annual reward and incentive programme for GP surgeries which is part of GP contracts.

Go to UK National Statistics.

Will my GP be able to fund any treatment I want?

Although your GP will have a key role in shaping our priorities for healthcare, they will not be able to make funding decisions on a patient by patient basis. This will still be covered by clinical guidelines and, for more specialised treatments, funded through the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB). However your GP practice may have an understanding of what care needs are more frequently required by their patients and could look to offer a service tailored to fit around the needs of their patients.

How can I find out which treatments are funded by the NHS, and how to apply for funding if my treatment is not routinely funded?

Please read the policies and funding information for Bucks, which outlines how we make funding decisions and how to apply for funding. You can also email our IFR team for further information – bucks.ifrrequests@nhs.net.

What does this mean for treatment I receive at hospital?

You should not notice a huge difference in the way care is offered and provided by any hospitals contracted to provide treatments on behalf of the NHS. Under the NHS Choose and Book system you can choose where you go for care. The Choose and Book system will still be available to you, where applicable.

What happens if I need emergency treatment?

You will not notice any difference should you require emergency treatment.

Who should I call in a non-emergency?

111 is the NHS non-emergency number. It’s fast, easy and free. Call 111 and speak to a highly trained adviser, supported by healthcare professionals. They will ask you a series of questions to assess your symptoms and immediately direct you to the best medical care for you.

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.

Further information on 111 can be found on the website.

Health Help Now

There is an innovative new web service that has been launched in Bucks called Health Help Now. Health Help Now is a free service for people in Bucks, which they can download to their phone, laptop or tablet so they can get NHS advice about the best place to go for their health concerns.

For more information please refer to our Health Help Now page.

How will CCGs be held to account?

CCGs are supported by and held to account for improving patient outcomes by the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB). At a more local level we are held to account by the Buckinghamshire Health and Wellbeing Board.

Does the CCG engage with patients?

Yes – patients will have a crucial role in planning and designing services. We will include and involve patients and keep them informed of any proposed changes to local services so that they can have a say. We are actively working to engage with patients, patient support groups and community and voluntary organisations to ensure we can capture the views of a wide range of local people.

Please go to our Get Involved page for further information, or register with www.letstalkhealthbucks.nhs.net.

Where do I send my invoice for Aylesbury Vale CCG?

Aylesbury Vale CCG
10Y Payables K365
Phoenix House, Topcliffe Lane
Wakefield, West Yorkshire
WF3 1WE

How can I find my nearest hospital / GP / dentist / pharmacy / health service?

You can locate a wide range of health services in your area through the NHS Choices website and Health Help Now bucks.healthhelpnow-nhs.net.

How do I contact the Medicine Management Team for AVCCG?

Aylesbury Vale CCG shares a Medicines Management Team with Chiltern CCG. They are based within the Chiltern CCG offices.

Address:
Medicines Management Team
Chiltern Clinical Commissioning Group
Ground Floor
Chiltern District Council Offices
King George V Road
Amersham
Buckinghamshire
HP6 5AW

Email address: bucks.mmt@nhs.net

Telephone no: 01434 586600