The NHS Commissioning Board (NHS CB), which is known as NHS England, was established on 1st October 2012 as an executive non-departmental public body.
NHS England leads the National Health Service (NHS) in England. Working with the Department of Health (DH), it sets the priorities and direction of the NHS to improve health and care.
A lot of the work NHS England does involves the direct commissioning of health services, including the provision of NHS services by general practices, pharmacies and dentists, some nationally commissioned public health services such as vaccination programmes and national screening programmes, and specialist services (e.g. regional provision of treatment for rare cancers). It also supports local health services that are led by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).
NHS England has devised a strategic vision for the NHS, along with other partners in health, called the Five Year Forward View. This vision focusses on the prevention of disease, identifying and delivering improvements in health care, and redesigning the NHS so it continues to meet the needs of patients.
NHS England Board
The NHS England Board consists of a Chair and eight non-executive directors and four voting executive directors. The Board is the senior decision-making structure in NHS England. It provides strategic leadership to the organisation and, in support of that, it:
- sets the overall direction of NHS England, within the context of the NHS Mandate that is given to NHS England by DH;
- approves the business plan, which is designed to support achievement of NHS England’s strategic objectives and monitors NHS England’s performance against it;
- holds NHS England’s executive group to account for its performance and for the proper running of the organisation (including operating in accordance with legal and Government requirements);
- determines which decisions it will make and which it will delegate to the executive group via the Scheme of Delegation;
- ensures high standards of corporate governance and personal conduct;
- provides effective financial stewardship; and
- promotes effective dialogue between NHS England, Government departments, other arm’s length bodies, its partners, CCGs and providers of healthcare and communities served by the commissioning system.
Directorates and regional teams
NHS England has a number of Directorates which collaborate to create and implement policy via direct commissioning of services and through provision of support for and oversight of CCG commissioning of health services:
- Strategy and Innovation
- Finance, Commercial and Specialised Commissioning Group
- Operations and Information
- Transformation and Corporate Operations Directorate
The Strategy and Innovation directorate leads the negotiations with PSNC, working with the other directorates such as the Medical directorate, where required, and the Department of Health.
The Operations and Information directorate contains a central team and four regional teams:
- Midlands and East
Twelve local teams are integrated into the regional teams (previously there were 27 Area Teams).
The local teams within the Regions are responsible for determining applications for pharmacy contracts, contract monitoring, pharmacy opening hours and providing support for EPS. Some roles of the local team, such as provision of support for EPS, may be provided by other organisations such as the local Commissioning Support Unit (CSU), working under contract to NHS England.
Each former Area Team includes three Local Professional Networks (LPNs) covering pharmacy, dentistry and eye care.
Regional teams also work closely with organisations such as CCGs, local authorities and Health and Wellbeing Boards as well as primary care providers such as community pharmacies and GP practices.
The Mandate to NHS England sets out the Government’s objectives for NHS England, as well as its budget. It helps set the direction for the NHS and ensures the NHS is accountable to Parliament and the public. The mandate must be published each year, to ensure that NHS England’s objectives remain up to date.
The NHS Constitution sets out the rights for patients, public and staff. It outlines NHS commitments to patients and staff, and the responsibilities that the public, patients and staff owe to one another to ensure that the NHS operates fairly and effectively. All NHS bodies and private and third sector providers supplying NHS services are required by law to take account of the Constitution in their decisions and actions.
The Department of Health has also produced supplements (including the NHS Constitution handbook) that explain in greater detail the rights and pledges contained in the Constitution.
NHS Identity Guidelines: NHS logo use by pharmacies
In January 2017 NHS England updated the guidelines on the use of the NHS Identity, including revised guidance for all primary care contractors who are commissioned under a primary care contract. Where pharmacy contractors choose to use the NHS identity, they must ensure that the revised guidance is adhered to when producing, updating or replacing designs.
PSNC Briefing 025/16: NHS England’s business plan 2016/17 (April 2016)
At the end of March 2016 NHS England published their business plan for 2016/17, which describes the organisation’s priorities for the forthcoming year. The document states that NHS England and its partners have made progress over the last year in bringing the vision of the NHS Five Year Forward View (5YFV) to life and it will continue to be their framework for action over 2016/17. The business plan describes how this will be achieved. This PSNC Briefing summarises the elements of the plan which are of most relevance to community pharmacy.
PSNC Briefing 005/16: NHS mandate 2016/17 (February 2016)
This PSNC Briefing summarises the elements of the mandate that are of most relevance to community pharmacy.
PSNC Briefing 022/15: NHS England Business Plan 2015/16 (April 2015)
At the end of March 2015 NHS England published their business plan for 2015/16 Building the NHS of the Five Year Forward View – which describes the organisation’s priorities for the forthcoming year. As the title suggests the plan reflects the commitment to the vision set out in the NHS Five Year Forward View (5YFV) that NHS England and its partners published in October 2014. This PSNC Briefing summarises the elements of the plan which are of most relevance to community pharmacy.
PSNC Briefing 027/14: The Proactive Care Programme (November 2014)
Following on from PSNC Briefing 026/14 (below), this briefing provides more detail on the Proactive Care Programme, which was one of the main proposals in the Transforming Primary Care document.
PSNC Briefing 026/14: Transforming Primary Care: Safe, proactive, personalised care for those who need it most (October 2014)
In April 2014, the Department of Health and NHS England published a joint plan – Transforming Primary Care: Safe, proactive, personalised care for those who need it most. The plan details how the NHS and social care services need to change in primary care to be able to support an ageing population and to be able to offer more support to those with complex health and care needs by providing personalised, proactive care. This PSNC Briefing summarises the elements of the plan that are of most relevance to community pharmacy.
PSNC Briefing 011/14: NHS England’s Business plan 2014-15 to 2016-17 (April 2014)
At the end of March 2014 NHS England published a refreshed business plan – Putting Patients First Business plan 2014-15 to 2016-17 – which describes the organisation’s plans for the next two years. The business plan builds on Everyone Counts: Planning for Patients 2014/15 to 2018/19, NHS England’s earlier planning guidance for the healthcare system, which was published in December 2013. This PSNC Briefing summarises the elements of the plan which are of most relevance to community pharmacy.
PSNC Briefing 114/13: Everyone Counts – NHS England’s planning guidance for 2014/15 to 2018/19 (December 2013)
In late December 2013 NHS England published Everyone Counts: Planning for Patients 2014/15 to 2018/19, the new planning guidance for NHS organisations. It also sets out a requirement for local commissioners to develop 5 year strategic plans over the next few months. The key points in the document are summarised in this PSNC Briefing. LPCs will want to be aware of the key points in the document, as they will influence future local commissioning by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and NHS England area teams (ATs). LPCs will want to seek to influence the development of the strategic plans to ensure community pharmacy services feature prominently.
PSNC Briefing 108/13: NHS England’s mandate for 2014/15 and the NHS Outcomes Framework 2014/15 (December 2013)
This briefing summarises NHS England’s refreshed mandate for 2014/15 and highlights the associated NHS Outcomes Framework 2014/15. The mandate sets out the goals that the Department of Health (DH) expects NHS England to achieve and it consequently will inform the organisation’s national and local commissioning priorities. LPCs and pharmacy contractors may want to consider this information when they discuss service developments with NHS England’s Area Teams (AT) and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).
PSNC Briefing 105/13: Guide to NHS Standard Policies and Procedures (November 2013)
NHS England has produced a number of standard policies and procedures which should be followed by their Area Teams. This briefing provides a central listing of the main policies which have been adopted by NHS England, along with additional details
PSNC Briefing 080/13: Update on NHS England (July 2013)
This PSNC Briefing contains an update on a number of matters related to NHS England which will either be of interest to pharmacy contractors and LPCs or may require action at a local level.
PSNC Briefing 042/12: Commissioning Primary Care services (July 2012)
This PSNC Briefing summarises Securing excellence in commissioning primary care which was published by the NHS Commissioning Board in June 2012.
For more information visit the NHS England website.