Five clinical commissioning groups have been given legal directions by NHS England this month – two of which have been ordered to stop commissioning all acute services.

Lewisham and Greenwich CCGs were placed in legal directions by NHS England on 8 September and both have been told that they must “cease to exercise its acute commissioning functions, including the contract with Lewisham and Greenwich Trust” until April 2019.

NHS England has directed Southwark CCG to take over all acute commissioning functions for the two CCGs. As a result Southwark has also been given directions.

Dartford, Gravesham and Swanely CCG, and Basildon and Brentwood CCG have also been placed given legal directions. DGS CCG was told it must carry out a governance and capacity review.

As part of its directions, Basildon and Brentwood CCG has been ordered to “fully participate” in a joint committee which has been established by Castle Point and Rochford, Mid Essex, Southend and NHS Thurrock CCGs.

A spokeswoman for Lewisham and Greenwich CCGs said they received legal directions over “significant historical performance problems with local urgent and emergency care services”.

In relation to urgent care services, the CCGs have been told they must create an urgent and emergency care recovery plan for their respective contracts with Lewisham and Greenwich Trust.

The spokeswoman added: “We are working together with [Southwark CCG] and NHS local partners to bring about real positive change and enhance our commissioning.

“This does not change A&E services in Lewisham and Greenwich but we are confident this step will help deliver the required improvements in performance and quality of local health care that our local communities deserve.”

CCGs in legal directions lose commissioning responsibilities