Commissioners can find a lot of useful information in the Society’s publications on National activity and outcomes. Members refer to these publications as ‘the blue book’.

Specialised services are defined in law as those services with a planning population of more than one million people. This means that a specialised service would not be provided by every hospital in England; generally, it would be provided by less than 50. These services are mainly planned for and commissioned across a wider population than one individual Primary Care Trust. Challenges for these services can include the training of specialist staff, supporting high quality research programmes and making best use of staff expertise and high tech equipment.

So far, there were two well established areas of special commissioning: Congenital heart surgery and transplantations. More recently, London commissioners suggested that mitral valve repair and complex aortic surgery should also be specially commissioned.

The Society has recently formed 4 working groups in order to help and advise commissioners in the complex commissioning process. We will soon publish the results of our survey on commissioning in England. The results of the survey will be published in this website.
Commissioning update 2012

The 2011 Health & Social Care Bill will have a significant impact on the way specialised services are commissioned. Specialised services are to be a core responsibility of the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB). To manage the transition to a single system within the NHSCB by April 2013, a comprehensive National Programme Plan has been developed. Delivery of this National Transition Programme Plan is the responsibility of the National Transition Project Team for Specialised Services. To achieve this, the National Specialised Services Transition Project Team has established a network of Specialised Services Clinical Reference Groups (CRGs).

Details of these 55 groups are given in the attached documents:

Specialized Services: Ensuring Equity, Delivering Excellence
Posted: 17 April 2012

This pack has been developed to help staff in specialised commissioning communicate to others the changes taking place as a result of the Health & Social Care Bill. It contains information from the basics of specialised commissioning to the very latest developments in the project that is helping to drive change. The pack is designed to provide information to staff, patients, the public, GPs, providers, commissioners and others with an interest in the future of specialised commissioning.


Specialized Commissioning Transition
Posted: 17 April 2012

The ambition for the commissioning of specialised services is to establish a single national function with national consistency, equity and excellence at its core. To achieve this, the National Specialised Services Transition Project Team has reviewed its project structure and introduced a strengthened programme approach which is needed to deliver critical convergence work by April 2013. The new programme approach centres on the core contracting function for specialised services and on having as many nationally consistent commissioning products (policies, service specifications and quality standards etc.) in place as possible in time for the 2013/14 contracting round.
Key to the success of the programme approach is using the network of Specialised Services Clinical Reference Groups (CRGs) as one of the key delivery mechanism for the commissioning products. This guidance document has been created to support the CRGs in carrying out this work.