Birmingham CrossCity Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is delighted to have been approved as one of the first CCGs in England to take on the commissioning of GP services.
The CCG is one of only 64 in England to have been endorsed by NHS England to assume new local commissioning arrangements designed to give patients, communities and clinicians more scope in deciding how local primary services are planned.
The CCG will have greater control over how NHS money is spent locally, enabling it to bring care closer to home for patients and deliver high-quality integrated care for Birmingham people.
Birmingham CrossCity CCG Chair and local GP, Dr Gavin Ralston, said: "The opportunity to take on the role of commissioning GP services, as well as those of hospital services is great news for our patients. It means that we can design better and more joined up services that can be delivered via GPs from their surgery rather than in a local hospital.
"As practising GPs ourselves, we are only too aware through talking to our patients of where the care they receive still needs to be improved and made easier to access. Their very valid opinions influence our planning and we can now sensibly include general practice, where over 90% of all patient contact takes place, in what we commission in the future.
"Birmingham CrossCity CCG has already introduced several innovative schemes involving GP surgeries across the city and this will enable us to more successfully continue and build on this ground-breaking work."
CCGs with delegated powers will commission general medical services from April 2015. They will take over the responsibility from NHS England, which currently commissions GP services.
All CCGs were offered the chance to opt for either full delegation, joint commissioning with NHS England, or greater involvement in commissioning. An announcement will be made in a few weeks' time regarding those approved for joint commissioning.
Under the new arrangements, GP-led CCGs will manage conflicts of interest through robust and transparent governance systems.
Dr Ralston added: "This is a major step forward in improving healthcare within our local communities and will allow us to help develop and nurture general practice, which is rightly seen as the bedrock of the NHS."