New groups led by GPs are '100% ready' to run health service
THE new leaders of the county's health services have been given an important seal of approval ahead of taking charge in April.
Four GP-led groups have been set up in Derbyshire as part of the Government's shake-up of the NHS.
The proposed changes to the country's health system were first announced by the then Health Secretary Andrew Lansley in 2010. He wanted to scrap local health authorities, known as primary care trusts.
Until then, these trusts had paid for and overseen all health care – from services at Royal Derby Hospital to mental health therapies.
But Mr Lansley decided the finances should instead be controlled by GP-led management teams, called clinical commissioning groups.
These are: NHS Southern Derbyshire, responsible for buying care for 524,747 patients in Derby, Amber Valley and South Derbyshire; NHS Erewash; NHS Hardwick; and NHS North Derbyshire.
Before taking over, the groups must be fully authorised by the national NHS Commissioning Board.
As part of this, all groups underwent an assessment of their plans, progress and credentials.
And health bosses in Derbyshire said they were the only county in the East Midlands to be awarded a 100% assessment rating in these areas.
They said this means all four groups were set to be fully authorised in time for the takeover.
The assessments are designed so the GP-led groups can demonstrate they are able to responsibly manage their finances and improve the quality of health services.
Dr Sheila Newport, chairman of NHS Southern Derbyshire clinical commissioning group, said: "We are pleased the assessors have declared that we are fit for purpose according to the criteria.
"But we recognise there is no room for complacency, as this is only the start of our journey to improve the quality of life for our patients.
"GPs are well placed to understand what services patients need and our clinical commissioning group will bring the NHS closer to patients than ever before."