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Changes to CCG decision making during the Covid-19 crisis

20 May 2020

Updated 15 July 2020

Like Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across the country, we are working to protect and care for our population and contribute as much as possible to the NHS response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Our priority right now is getting health and care to those who need it, whether that is Covid-19 related or other health care needs.

In order to free up our people to focus on this work, some of our duties have changed for an interim period. This is the same for all CCGs in England, following the NHS declaration of a National Incident in response to coronavirus. CCGs across Sussex have activated their business continuity plan in order to protect our staff, and to ensure that the CCGs can deliver the statutory and core functions needed at this time.

What has changed?

The significant pressures of Covid-19 in the NHS as a whole, on the Sussex health and care system, and on our workforce, are unprecedented.

Making sure our populations receive the right care, have the right information on keeping safe and to ensure our health system is able to cope with increased pressures, is our focus at this time. Therefore, the CCGs have reviewed how we make our decisions in order to allow for the majority of our time and energy to be spent on fighting the pandemic.

In response to national guidance, a fundamental review of the schedule, format and purpose of Governing Body and Committee meetings has been carried out, with a focus on any meetings or matters of immediate importance to address significant risks, and to keep our core services running, as they need to for the benefit of our patients.

 

We also need to make rapid decisions at this difficult time, including those related to finances and the capacity of the NHS system to respond the Covid-19 pandemic.

We therefore changed our decision-making processes temporarily to respond to the unique needs of this situation.

Interim governance arrangements were implemented from 1 April 2020 across the three Sussex CCGs (East Sussex, West Sussex and Brighton & Hove) Governing Body meetings as follows:

  • Meetings held virtually
  • Meetings held monthly, for two hours
  • Content focussed on decisions related to supporting the needs of our health system in Covid- 19
  • Members of the public were not able to access these meetings through online means, as we were unable to arrange this at this time
  • Members of the public have continued to be able to view dates of Governing Body meetings and papers on the CCG websites

The interim arrangements have been reviewed in June 2020 and some changes are being made from July 2020 to reinstate formal committee reporting and be consistent with the guidance on reducing the burden.

Governing Body meetings continue to be run virtually at the current time – and are held in public ‘live’ from June 2020 via Microsoft Teams with an option for the public to be present, or review a recording after the meeting.

Governing Body meeting frequency becomes bi-monthly after July 2020 and for a duration of two and a half hours.

How can members of the public raise questions and comment?

Our usual processes around public questions to be raised at Governing Body meetings had been temporarily suspended whist we have been in this emergency. However, the ability to raise questions in advance has now been recommenced. We would invite you to email us any comments or any questions on anything outlined in Governing Body or Primary Care Commissioning Committee papers to bhccg.contactus-brightonhoveccg@nhs.net.

Please note that if Governing Body or Primary Care Commissioning Committee papers are required in printed format, we can provide these – please let us know.  Whilst meetings are conducted virtually papers will not be available at meeting venues (this would normally be possible for requests received at least two days in advance of the meeting).

For questions about our Governing Body papers, or our work on Covid-19, contact us on bhccg.contactus-brightonhoveccg@nhs.net.

Our committees

From July:

  • the Primary Care Commissioning Committee will meet in Common with the other Primary Care Commissioning Committees in Sussex on a bi-monthly basis  (meeting held in public)
  • The Quality Committee will meet bi-monthly, as a Joint Quality Committee across all three Sussex CCGs
  • The Joint Committee of the CCGs, across all three Sussex CCGs, continues to meet on monthly basis
  • Audit and Assurance Committees will meet in Common across CCGs in Sussex
  • Joint Finance and Performance Committee established across the Sussex CCGs is bi-monthly from July

Our Committees will report into our Governing Body and these reports will be included in the public Governing Body papers.

When will these arrangements be reviewed?

We will continue to review these temporary arrangements over the coming months. We are implementing a plan to support the Sussex CCGs as we move away from the crisis, and will review our governance arrangements as part of this work and update in due course.

If you have any questions please contact bhccg.contactus-brightonhoveccg@nhs.net.