NHS Clinical Commissioners has today launched a new publication to support CCGs in making difficult decisions about prioritisation of resources and changes to local services.

This comes at a time when the NHS is going through a period of major change to achieve long-term sustainability and transformation making potentially hard choices increasingly inevitable.

Produced in collaboration with the University of Birmingham, ‘Making Difficult Decisions’ sets out factors that can enable CCGs to successfully command the confidence of the public, patients, local politicians and other key stakeholders when making changes. It draws on both academic research and practical insight from commissioners, patient groups and NHS England.

Dr Iestyn Williams, Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham said: “As with all local decision-makers, clinical commissioners are faced with the task of making decisions that balance the interests of a variety of stakeholders, dealing with imperfect evidence, and working through sometimes imperfect implementation channels – and doing all of this in an extremely challenging financial climate.  We are delighted to have worked with NHSCC to support the development of some top tips for clinical commissioners when faced with making these challenging decisions. These draw on research that my colleagues and I have conducted recently as well as some practical insights from CCGs.”

Making Difficult Decisions: Commissioning healthcare in times of change’ contains top tips drawn from academic research and additional insight from those interviewed during the report, including commissioners, patient groups and NHS England. These are:

  • Identify opportunities for improvement and safe and cost-effective change in service provision.
  • Plan the change management process in advance.
  • Base decision-making on robust data where available.
  • Manage stakeholder perceptions through active engagement, consultation and nurturing trustworthy relationships.
  • Recognise that local community, clinician and political support is vital, and engage these interests early.
  • Develop an integrated communication and engagement strategy from the start.