Cornwall Council is set to take over the functions of the county’s clinical commissioning group as part of the development of an accountable care system, LGC has been told.
The system, which is set to begin operating in shadow form from April, will see an “integrated, strategic commissioning function” based in the council which will commission services from one or more “accountable care partnerships” based around the existing NHS providers. These are Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust and community and mental health services provider Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust.
Cabinet member for adults Rob Rotchell (Lib Dem) stressed the plans did not mean the council taking over the NHS or vice-versa.
He said: “Cornwall Council will ultimately become the strategic commissioner for all healthcare for Cornwall that is commissioned by the CCG. The longer term plan is that the CCG becomes a department within Cornwall Council and we will buy services from the providers.”
This week it was announced that four CCGs in Greater Manchester were set to merge their leadership with their local council under a single chief executive as part of a move to creating a “single commissioning function”.
Cllr Rotchell told LGC Cornwall’s plans were “not as far down the line” as creating a joint chief executive post and the exact details of the management and governance arrangements would be worked out during 2018-19 when the ACS will operate in shadow form.
“There is no blueprint [for an ACS]; Manchester will do it in a way that fits Manchester, we are designing a system that’s fit for Cornwall,” he said.
Cornwall’s devolution deal, which was agreed in 2015 but does not include a mayor, featured a commitment to integrate health and social care services. However, progress has been slow as the area has struggled with longstanding financial and quality challenges in its health services.
Cllr Rotchell said addressing these was part of the rationale for creating the ACS, noting closer working had already seen significant reductions in delayed transfers of care in the county.
Royal Cornwall chief executive Kathy Byrne said: “We know that we have a way to go before we can offer the outstanding care we all aspire to. Health and care leaders are united in the view that we need to go further and faster to bring our health and care system closer together with the person at the centre.”