The work of the East Staffordshire Clinical Commission Group, CCG, has been applauded by NHS England for their efforts throughout 2016 and the beginning of 2017.
The CCG has been singled out for praise for their overall performance for the year and particularly for managing finances and leadership, among other aspects.
This praise comes in the wake of the annual country-wide operation by NHS England which rates all 207 CCGs in the country, with East Staffordshire assessed as 'good'.
The ratings judge the group's performance from commissioners, not the quality of services that patients receive from the hospitals, GPs and other health providers under the CCG’s umbrella.
The 'good' rating awarded to East Staffordshire is just one below the maximum rating of 'outstanding'.
This is an improvement upon the rating given to the CCG in 2015/2016, which overall rated it as 'requires improvement' and has appeared to have improved upon concerns from the previous year's rating regarding finance and planning.
Both the finance and planning subcategories from 2015/2016 were rated as 'requires improvement', which dragged the overall rating to the same.
Dr Charles Pidsley, the chairman of East Staffordshire CCG has explained that the group has overcome adversity throughout the year to come out on top.
Dr Pidsley said: "We have faced several challenges over the past year, but the good assurance rating from NHS England is a firm endorsement that we are working in an effective and financially sustainable manner to improve care for our patients.
"Our assessment highlighted a number of areas of strength, including our work on improving access to psychological therapies and the leadership within the CCG. We are committed to driving improvements in A&E performance amongst other areas with Burton Hospitals Foundation Trust.
"We would like to thank our staff, member practices and our partners for their pivotal role in this achievement. Looking forward, we will work closely with other commissioners and providers in the region and we are intent on maintaining our record of improvements."
Significantly, NHS England has highlighted the work by East Staffordshire CCG to meet the target of seeing a patient with suspected cancer within a maximum of two weeks following GP referral.
Similarly, the improved access to psychological therapies, the CCG’s management of finances and the quality of leadership has also been singled out for praise.
What does a CCG do?
Clinical commissioning groups, or CCGs were first created in 2012 as part of a piece of legislation called the Health and Social Care Act 2012. This act was a complete reorganisation of the NHS' structure across England.
The 207 different CCGs across England are responsible for planning and leading health services for their respective area in the country.
A group is made up of GP practices, which make up the members of the CCG and is mainly led by an elected board made up of GPs and other health care professionals from the area.
For example, the governing body of East Staffordshire CCG is headed by Dr Charles Pidsley, a GP at Bridge Surgery in Burton.
Also on the board is Miriam Masaud, a freelance GP working in Burton, Dr John Tansey who has worked in Burton as a doctor since 1988 and Simon Jones, a GP at Northgate Surgery in Uttoxeter, among other professionals.
The main responsibility of the CCG group is for the health of their population, which can range up to 900,000 people. The East Staffordshire CCG is responsible for around 135,000 residents.
They also work very closely with NHS England, who make sure that the respective CCGs are fit for purpose and help to development the CCGs.