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 and Social Care (DHSC), 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).
In late 2018, NHS England worked with DHSC and the other national leadership bodies to develop a Long Term Plan for the NHS. The plan, which was published in January 2019, sets out NHS England’s priorities for healthcare over the next ten years and shows how the NHS funding settlement will be used.
NHS Pharmacy and Medicines Bulletin
NHS England sends the Pharmacy and Medicines bulletin every quarter for those working in pharmacies or with medicines. It contains the latest information and resources from NHS England.
NHS England Board
The NHS England Board consists of a Chair and eight non-executive directors and seven 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 DHSC;
- 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 and Social Care.
The Operations and Information directorate contains a central team and seven regional teams:
- North West
- North East
- South East
- South West
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.
PSNC Briefing 023/18: NHS mandate 2018/19 (April 2018)
This PSNC Briefing summarises the elements of the NHS mandate 2018/19 that are of most relevance to community pharmacy contractors and Local Pharmaceutical Committee.
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 local teams. This briefing provides a central listing of the main policies which have been adopted by NHS England, along with additional details.
For more information visit the NHS England website.