Commissioning for specific service sectors

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Information resources on commissioning in specific service sectors, plus case studies that illustrate how libraries support work in this area.

Tips on searching the web:

When searching the internet, suggested terms include…

  • acute / “partnership trust” / “primary care” / “secondary care” / “community care” / “social care” / “foundation trust”
  • COMBINED WITH terms to describe any specific topic areas you are focusing upon.
  • To limit to NHS papers, try combining your results with: (ccg OR nhs). To look for CCG publications add the following to your google search:  site: (note the space before the CCG.)
  • You can search for terms such as “board paper” / “strategy” to help to locate Trust papers.
  • The NICE social care guidance manual includes an extensive list of possible resources and organisations to search for evidence on social care.

Also have a look at our summary of tips on searching the web.

List of contents

Whole system improvement

Seven day services
NHS IQ three year transformational improvement programme, includes useful links and resources

Seven Day Services Case Studies – NHS Improvement

Read some of the many resources around 7 day services here.

Quality MK
A three year programme which aimed to improve patient outcomes by shaping a whole system approach to quality improvement, making a reality of public and patient engagement, evidence-based decision making and primary care leadership

Integrated health and social care

See the Hot Topic page – Integrated Services

Primary care services

RCGP Centre for Commissioning
Equips GPs, practices and GP consortia with the skills, competencies and expertise required to deliver effective healthcare commissioning which ensures patient-focused, safe, high quality healthcare and improved local health outcomes. Includes a Commissioning competencies framework.

NHS England Primary care commissioning resources – including “Securing excellence” briefings, service specifications for primary care, dental, GP IT and primary ophthalmology

Preliminary practice based commissioning toolkit
The aim of the toolkit is to assist PCTs in the early planning and implementation process of Practice based Commissioning in a local context.

Future of primary care – a reading list from Kings Fund (Updated Feb 2014)

Primary care factors and unscheduled secondary care: a series of systematic reviews (Centre of Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol,  2014)
This is a very a very unusual document, not only does it give a clear presentation of how primary care organisation directly impacts on unscheduled care, but it also suggests what this means for commissioning of new services.

International trends and initiatives in primary health care.
A roundup of global initiatives and trends in primary health care compiled by Australian Primary health Care research & Information Services (2013). Mentions a range of PH models with references.

A user’s guide to data collected in primary care in England. Published in 2006 but still a useful overview of primary care data sources

Patients registered with GPs A quarterly snapshot of data published by HSCIC showing patient numbers by GP practice, CCG, NHS England area team and NHS England region.

Enhancing access in primary care settings an evidence briefing produced by the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (June 2015)

Towards excellence in general practice: a resource to support local primary care development by Midlands & Lancs CSU for West Midlands Clinical Senate Feb 2015. En evidence review which highlights some key areas for consideration as well as discussion aids to support co-production. See the accompanying slide presentation.

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Exceptional Treatment Panels / Individual Funding Requests (IFRs)

Every PCT in England will operate and manage decision-making panels to deal with requests for the funding of exceptional cases, normally involving clinicians requesting a form of treatment for their patient falling outside those usually funded or approved by NICE. Often the requests handled by these panels involve patients with advanced or end-stage cancer, requesting drugs which are not routinely prescribed. There is no standard naming to describe Exceptional Case panels but other common names include ‘Priority’, ‘Clinical Exception’ and ‘Non-Contractual Intervention’ panels.  Where librarians are involved in the process, it is to undertake literature reviews for the panel to provide the evidence to inform their decision making.  In the East Midlands, librarians in Derbyshire County and Nottingham City supply the evidence in advance of the panel meeting and also attend the panel meetings.

Reducing spending on low clinical value treatments, Audit Commission Health briefing, April 2011
An examination of PCT’s spending on low clinical value treatments and how some PCTs have successfully reduced their spending in this area. Includes the “Croydon List”.

Good practice guidance on managing the introduction of new healthcare interventions and links to National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) technology appraisal guidance (DH, 2006) [Archived Content]

Priority setting: managing individual funding requests
This report, the 3rd in a series of publications that aims to help organisations review their current priority-setting processes and, if needed, provide a reference document for PCTs who still have to develop a comprehensive priority-setting framework. [NHS Confederation, 2008]

PCT decision making in Priorities Panels – A review of the literature and management of decision making processes in resource allocation for commissioning treatments: recommendations for PCTs and SHA

Public Health England is sharing information on PCT Clinical Exceptions in London.

Community and domiciliary care services

See the Hot Topic page Acute Care in the Community

List of Community Hospitals
Compiled by the Community Hospitals Association, with some modifications by the National End of Life Care Intelligence Network team.

HSJ stories around Transforming Community Services – (Subscription required)

Demonstrating the Value of Community Services – A number of indicator templates for different community services including adult audiology, falls prevention services, MSK physiotherapy and wheelchair services, are available for testing and discussion through work by the FTN aspirant Community Foundation Trust (aCFT).

Transforming Community Services [Archived Content]
Policies, projects and initiatives currently underway within the TCS programme.

Transforming Community Services enabling guidance [Archived Content]
Written to help PCTs move the relationship between direct provider and commissioner to a purely contractual one, and consider what type/s of organisations will best meet the future needs of patients.

Resource pack for Commissioners of Community Services [Archived Content]
Sets out the principles of good practice when commissioning community services with case studies of good practice in six clinical areas, and signposts commissioners to the most pertinent and relevant information.

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Acute medical and surgical services

See the Hot Topic page Acute Care in the Community

Centre for Perioperative Care resources and guidelines.

Healthcare for the Future West North East Cumbria – the Publications Page of the consultation website includes Briefing notes relating to reconfiguration of acute stroke services, Community Hospitals, Maternity services and other service commissioning guides.

Improving productivity in elective care (Monitor October 2015) aims to help providers realise opportunities to improve productivity in care pathways, from first consultation to postoperative follow-up. The report includes Examples of good practice observed at each stage of the orthopaedic or ophthalmic elective care pathway.

A toolkit to support NHS commissioners to reduce poor experience of in-patient care
This toolkit from
NHS England (April 2015) has been developed to support NHS commissioners to work collaboratively with patients, carers and NHS provider organisations to reduce poor experiences of in-patient care. It is made up of three core elements: a data tool to help commissioners identify priority areas to focus on in order to improve in-patient experience; case examples to illustrate improvement work undertaken by organisations; signposting to relevant improvement tools.

Dorset Vision Compendium of Clinical Evidence December 2014. A collection of guidelines and standards to support a clinical service review.

Keogh Mortality Review – see the Briefing for CCGs by Anne Gray, Milton Keynes CCG

Royal College of Surgeons
See the latest Standards on the Publications page.  LInk to a range of commissioning guides, standards and policies, and data tools from the Commissioning Guides page. The Tools and Resources page includes audit tools, NICE guidance and benchmarking templates.

Clinical Commissioning Hub – Royal College of Physicians
An online resource for those commissioning secondary care services in England, service planners and clinicians designing these services across the UK. Includes links to guidance on commissioning services by medical specialty including relevant NICE pathway toolkits, audit reports.

Toolkit for Commissioning Secondary and Tertiary Care Services
Focuses on the development of medicines management arrangements with secondary and tertiary care services.

Royal College of Physicians: 

Interventions to reduce unplanned hospital admission: a series of systematic reviews. University of Bristol, June 2012. This services of reviews includes Case management,  Specialist clinics, Community interventions, Care pathways & guidelines, Medication review, Education & self-management, Exercise & rehabilitation,  Telemedicine,  Finance schemes,  Emergency department interventions, Continuity of care

Hospital Reconfiguration (Centre for Health and the Public Interest).
This list (21 documents latest 2012) includes sources relevant to the process of reorganisation, research evidence on aspects of service organisation, case studies and broad overviews of service configuration.

Commissioning Day Surgery – a guide for commissioning consortia
A guide from the British Association of Day Surgery (May 2011) to highlight those areas that should be specifically considered when commissioning day surgery care.

Urgent care

Please see the Hot Topic on Urgent Care for resources on emergency and urgent care.

Local Authorities/Public Health

Database of promoting health effectiveness reviews (DoPHER) – Systematic and non-systematic reviews of effectiveness in health promotion and public health from the EPPI-Centre.

The Prevention Library from SCIE highlights emerging practice and research in the provision of prevention services in adult social care. It contains two types of content – examples of prevention services across England submitted by commissioners and providers together with references to recent research and related resources to support and inform the commissioning process.

Commissioning Support Programme  –  flexible support to local authorities and their partner organisations as they confront the challenges of improving and redesigning services. Includes training materials and practical resources. Mainly relating to children and schools.

Health intelligence requirements for local authorities – a series of factsheets from the Department of Health around the new LA responsibilities including new public health functions, organisations providing health intelligence resources, access to the data and information required, and Information governance

Public Health England (PHE) – “protect and improve the nation’s health and to address inequalities.”

Health and wellbeing boards & JSNA – a collection of resources by National Voices to support the voluntary sector in its work in the health and wellbeing board and with the joint strategic needs assessments and the joint health and wellbeing strategy development.

Public Health England and Information Requirements for Local Authorities – a presentation from South West PHO, Nov 2012

A quick guide to local government for health commissioners and providers  by the LGA (May 2013) providing a clear and succinct guide to the role and scope of local government.

Your local tobacco control toolkit compiled by PHE (Sept 2015) – includes links to Policy, Data, Tools, Guidance, Briefings.

Evidence-Informed Public Health  is a professional development resource from the  National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools (Canada) which presents a model for evidence-informed decision making in public health using a 7 step process.

Planned care (including Intermediate care)

Secondary analysis and literature review of community rehabilitation and intermediate care: an information resource (Health Serv Deliv Res 2015;3(1))
Reanalysis of data from two intermediate care projects to identify patient characteristics associated with outcomes and the impact of different team and staffing structures on patient outcomes and service costs.

Exploring Differences between Different Intermediate Care Configurations – A Review of the Literature. Dr Tony Smith et al.  NHS Benchmarking 2013. Part of the NHS Benchmarking National Audit of Intermediate Care
This systematic review examines the evidence around the relationship between different team characteristics and patient outcomes in intermediate care.

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Specialist and tertiary services

Pathology Services Commissioning Toolkit  (DH, May 2012)

Residential care services / Care Homes

The New Care Models being piloted by the government include six enhanced health in care home (EHCH) vanguards working to improve the quality of life, healthcare and health planning for people living in care homes.  Read about these on the NHS England website.

Other useful research includes:

Optimal NHS service delivery to care homes: a realist evaluation of the features and mechanisms that support effective working for the continuing care of older people in residential settingsHealth Services and Delivery Research v 5 Issue 29 October 2017

Prison services

Offender health care commissioning by NHS England. Includes the Securing Excellence in Commissioning for Offender Health and supporting documents.

Social care

Emerging practice in outcome-based commissioning for social care (IPC April 2015) – A progress report exploring the lessons learnt from a variety of approaches taken by councils to “outcome-based commissioning” in adult social care.

Looking for social care guidance? See the NICE Collaborating Centre for Social CareThis page includes details of social care guidance under development. See here for Social care quality standards.

The NICE social care guidance manual includes an extensive list of possible resources and organisations to search for evidence on social care.

Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)
The key resource for social care in particular commissioning and personalisation. Includes Social Care Online – an online database of information and research on all aspects of social care and social work.

Think Local, Act Personal
A collection of resources to support the “Putting People First” agenda for social care.

Provider blueprint
A tool for supporting providers and commissioners of social care to learn from innovative practice in commissioning and delivering personalised services.

Developing Intelligent Commissioning
Supports the Yorkshire and the Humber regional commissioning development programme in adult social care including a comprehensive resource bank for commissioners, including summaries of national themes and guidance and information on commissioning practice.

Third sector

Evidence for Success: The guide to getting evidence and using it  (Knowledge Translation Network, August 2014). This guidebook aims to help third sector organisations generate and use evidence to influence policy and practice.

A Bridge Between Two Worlds: A study of support and development organisations and intelligent commissioning
Report from NAVCA describing the work of local voluntary organisations and community groups in influencing and improving commissioning practices in their areas.

A Clinical Commissioner’s Guide to the Voluntary Sector ACEVO, 2012 – not a definitive guide to commissioning, but an exploration of possible organisational models that can be adapted according to local circumstance, resources and needs.

Commissioning  resources
A collection of practical resources from NAVCA (National Association Voluntary and Community Action) to local support and development organisations across all aspects of commissioning and procurement.

Successful Commissioning Toolkit
NAO toolkit to help local commissioners in the public sector get better value for money from third sector organisations (TSOs) and to help third sector organisations become more informed about the commissioning process, and about what they should expect from financial relationships with the public sector.

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