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Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) want more information about the type of commissioning support services that are available to them, a survey has revealed.

The survey published today revealed that 59% of CCGs want more information about the choice of commissioning support available to them while 61% want more clarity on the types of services on offer.

A further 64% want more advice about how to procure their support. The survey of 141 CCGs revealed that 29% of groups did not know the ‘pattern’ of commissioning support they would want once they become statutory bodies when PCTs are abolished in April. But 33% said they expected it to change to some extent.

The survey was commissioned on behalf of the NHS Commissioning Board Authority by NHS Clinical Commissioners which is a coalition of the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC), NHS Alliance and the NHS Confederation, which aims to establish an ‘independent collective voice for CCGs’.

Senior figure in NHS Clinical Commissioners Dr Michael Dixon, said: ‘It is clear that a significant proportion of CCGs need further advice and help on how best to secure support. But, apart from information and choice, another key issue is clinical support services (CSS)’ ability to deliver the new vision the NHS desperately needs to transform healthcare. The government’s own vision is that, if commissioning is to be better, more efficient and create the NHS of the future, it needs to be done differently. Therefore, it is concerning that 49% of CCGs lack confidence in CSS’ leadership to deliver commissioning support in a new and innovative way.’

The independent research organisation TNS BMRB, carried out online and telephone surveys of 141 CCGs which represented 66% of the then total of 215 groups approached, between and 29 March and 16 April this year.

Last week, the NHS Commissioning Board revealed the final number of CCGs will be 212.

In the survey, 27% of CCGs said they expect to source between 30% and 49% of commissioning support from NHS CSSs. And 17% said they expect to source less than 30% from the NHS.

Currently only 3% of CCGs outsource their commissioning support, according to the survey. This rises to 7% when asked if they plan to source it from outside the NHS after the transition in April 2013.

Dr Charles Alessi, another senior member of NHS Clinical Commissioners, said: ‘In our view, the findings reiterate the importance CCGs attach to being able to access choice of support – a message we’ve heard consistently. It’s very encouraging that CCG views have been sought and we know that there are some good examples of NHS commissioning support being developed in parts of the country.

‘But one third of CCGs are unclear about where they will source support post authorisation. This is a strong indication they wish to explore their options. We need to find ways in which we can combine the best of all available commissioning support services – from whichever sector - so that CCGs can access the tools they need to drive the improvements needed for patients.’