A particularly bold and probing parliamentary question has caught End Game’s eye.
Dominic Raab, Tory MP for Surrey’s Esher and Walton ward, exhibiting his finest scrutiny skills, queried of health minister Norman Lamb last Tuesday: “What progress his department has made on implementing local commissioning of NHS services?”
Mr Lamb – ignoring what may be something of a national/local contradiction in the question itself – duly explained that 211 clinical commissioning groups had been authorised by the government and “empowered to design and deliver services based on the needs and choices of their patients”.
Mr Lamb unfortunately didn’t explain that the state of the fledgling new commissioning system could currently be described as, at best, variable.
Nor did he mention the side-note of the government’s creation, in NHS England, of the largest single health commissioner ever seen in the UK. The organisation has already demonstrated (also not mentioned) an ability to move parts of CCGs’ budgets into its own at short notice.
Surprisingly, Mr Rabb did not press on these points. He instead declared his constituency had “struggled under a particularly inefficient primary care trust” and that now, “Surrey Downs CCG is already saving costs in bureaucracy so as to invest strategically in cutting counselling waiting lists, increasing funding for children with multiple disabilities, and setting up virtual wards run by a matron to supervise care in the community”.
End Game trusts that Surrey Downs CCG will be comfortably meeting its financial requirements in coming years.