A clinical commissioning group leader has called for commissioners to have more control over “winter pressures” funding, rather than having to pass it directly to providers.

Sheffield CCG chair Tim Moorhead was speaking at the Commissioning Show in London yesterday.

He suggested the funding should be included in national allocations, rather than announced and provided during the financial year.


In 2013-14 £400m was distributed as ‘winter pressure’ funding

In 2013-14, £400m was distributed as “winter pressure” funding, and in 2014-15 the same sum will be available on top of initial allocations along with a further £250m for addressing elective care performance problems.

Dr Moorhead said it was a “ridiculous thing” and said: “Money suddenly appears and we are asked to just push it through. We should be modulating what happens to [the] money when it does become available.”

He also criticised late notice changes to finance rules by NHS England, such as the requirement in 2014-15, announced shortly before the financial year began, to pool money for continuing healthcare claims.

He said such demands “should be objected to”.

Meanwhile, NHS England director of strategic finance Sam Higginson, speaking at the same session at the event, said his organisation and Monitor, which jointly set pricing rules, wanted to see more experimentation with pricing and payment mechanisms.

He said CCGs could “step outside” national pricing  rules currently if they could show it would work.

“We are really keen to see more of that happen,” he added. “We are keen to think about how do we move away from a pricing system where we’ve got block contracts and activity based contracts and not much else?”

This would be highlighted further in the next consultation on pricing rules by NHS England and Monitor, he said.

Follow HSJ reporters at the Commissioning Show