‘World class commissioning’: a panacea or an empty promise?
Ian Cameron, Director of Public Health, NHS Leeds, UK
The separation of responsibility for planning and funding services from the task of delivering them is not new in the NHS. The introduction of commissioning was supposed to realise a range of benefits to the health care system. These included challenging the professional dominance of services, a broader range of more responsive providers, better value for money and more needs focused. There has been little evidence of significant large-scale impacts.
In response, the Department of Health has launched a ‘World Class Commissioning’ programme. This can be viewed as means for enhancing, systematically, specific commissioning competencies as well as ensuring competent organisations with well-developed managerial skills and leadership. The ultimate aim being to demonstrate better outcomes – better health and wellbeing, better care and better value.
Under the World Class Commissioning programme, all Primary Care Trusts have been formally assessed and scored on ten competencies, on strategy and finance along with up to ten outcome measures (with eight chosen locally). The assessment process will be described along with the national results and next steps.
The implications for smoking cessation service providers will be explored. As NHS Commissioners develop new skills and different ways of working so smoking cessation services will need to be able to respond both in terms of delivery and in managing relationships. The NHS focus on Commissioners to be ‘World Class’ should also be viewed as an opportunity not to be missed.
About the presenter
Dr Ian Cameron is Director of Public Health at NHS Leeds with responsibility for health improvement, health inequalities, and health protection, including health emergency planning and infection control. Ian is lead for the city on a number of key health improvement priorities including Tobacco Control, Alcohol and Physical Activity.
Ian has developed links with the Institute of Public Health, Lahore, Pakistan and together with NHS colleagues is running the award winning Smoke Free Homes Project in schools and with community health workers in Lahore in 2008, following a successful pilot in 2007. A DVD of this pilot has been shown at the National Smoking Cessation Conference. The long-term aim is for this work to be included within Pakistan National Tobacco Control Programme.
Ian has previously been Director of Public Health in North West Leeds and led the development of the Leeds Student Health Needs Assessment in partnership with universities and colleges, which include the needs of international students. Ian has previously been Consultant in Public Health Medicine in Leeds with a lead role in mental health promotion and commissioning of mental health services. Ian has published extensively on a range of topics, most recently on work to promote positive mental health in the media.