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NHS England halts transfer of obesity services to CCGs
NHS England has announced that plans to transfer control of commissioning weight loss surgery to Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have been delayed, and instead it has launched a consultation into how it will prioritise which specialised services and treatments to invest in. NHS England directly commissions around 145 specialised services and will consult on which of these it will continue to fund.
The British Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society (BOMSS) and the NHS Clinical Commissioners (the independent membership organisation of CCGs) have previously expressed their concern that the proposed transfer was being pushed through too quickly and would have impacted negatively on both patient care and access to cost-effective treatment.
“We were concerned about the transfer of commissioning to CCGs so quickly and without any clear evidence that the change would result in improved patient care,” said Mr Roger Ackroyd, the new president of BOMSS. “Surgery referrals are likely to have fallen and access to effective treatment made even more difficult for severely obese patients.”
BOMSS will now work to ensure that statutory safeguards to protect morbidly obese patients from inequality of access to NHS treatment are put in place before any new transfer plans are announced.
Early in January 2015, BOMSS called for a delay to transfer control of commissioning weight loss surgery to CCGs by April 2015, claiming the plans were being pushed through too quickly and could impact on both patient care and access to cost-effective treatment.
BOMSS has called for the transfer of commissioning responsibility to be delayed for a year until April 2016 to allow enough time to introduce statutory safeguards which will protect morbidly obese patients from inequality of access to NHS treatment. It wants NHS England to retain overall responsibility in a co-commissioning arrangement with CCGs from April 2015 to April 2016 and that commissioning practice during this transition period adheres strictly to current practice and the national service specification.