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What is clinical commissioning?

In order to shift decision-making as close as possible to patients, power and responsibility for commissioning services has been devolved to local groups of clinicians.

As of April 2013, there is now a comprehensive system of Clinical Commissioning Groups, supported by and accountable to the new NHS Commissioning Board. These groups are responsible for commissioning health services.

Your local GP practices have joined up with other health professionals in a Clinical Commissioning Group, which is responsible for "commissioning" - planning, designing and paying for your NHS services. This includes planned and emergency hospital care, rehabilitation, most community services and mental health and learning disability services.

GPs and other clinicians are responsible for engaging with local people to ensure that the services they are paying for meet your needs.

A national NHS Commissioning Board oversees the performance of Clinical Commissioning Groups, as well as commissioning GP services, pharmacy, opticians and dentists, and other specialised services.

Local consumer HealthWatch bodies have replaced the old Local Involvement Networks (LINks). They promote public engagement in the NHS, comment on changes to local services, act as advocates for complaints, and deliver advice across health and social care.