Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are groups of General Practitioners (GPs) that are responsible for planning and designing local health services in England. They do this by 'commissioning' or buying health and care services for their local population including:
- Planned hospital care
- Urgent and emergency care
- Rehabilitation and community health services
- Mental health and learning disability services
The announcement that GPs would take over commissioning was made in the 2010 Government White Paper, Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS.
CCGs do not currently commission primary care services such as GPs, dentists, pharmacists and opticians. Primary Care services are commissioned by NHS England, although there are plans to move towards joint commissioning between CCGs and NHS England in the future.
NHS England is also responsible for commissioning:
- Specialised Services –services which are provided from relatively few specialist centres and accessed by a relatively small number of patients i.e. kidney services and uncommon cancers
- Prison Healthcare – services provided inside the prison *
- Services for members of the armed forces
*CCGs are responsible for any health services that prisoners require outside the confines of the prison i.e. hospital care