New Regulations for NHS Commissioners

New Regulations for NHS Commissioners: Responsibilities and Standing Rules.

The Secretary of State has made new statutory regulations for the NHS Commissioning Board (the Board) and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).  These are the NHS Commissioning Board and Clinical Commissioning Groups (Responsibilities and Standing Rules) Regulations 2012 (the Regulations) which set out patients’ rights and the Board’s and CCGs’ responsibilities for meeting them by way of the Standing Rules.

In summary the Regulations expand on NHS Act 2006 (as amended) provisions relating to the NHS responsible commissioner (ie which one is responsible for commissioning different services and specialties for different segments of the population of England) and set out the Standing Rules for commissioning.

In particular the Regulations set out an enforceable legal framework for:

  • Persons for whom a CCG has responsibility
  • Services to be commissioned by the Board
  • Mental health after-care services
  • Standing rules: commissioning contract terms
  • Standing rules: NHS Continuing Healthcare and NHS funded nursing care
  • Standing rules: decisions about drugs and other treatments
  • Standing rules: choice of health service provider
  • Standing rules: waiting times
  • Standing rules: funding of therapies for Multiple Sclerosis
  • Financial duties of the Board and CCGs in relation to administration.

The Standing Rules set out legal requirements for both the Board and CCGs.  They replicate core elements of the current system but replace existing directions from the Secretary of State.  As the Standing Rules set out system-wide generic requirements, they will not apply to individual CCGs.

The Regulations will come into force between now and 1 April 2013.  CCGs will have to assimilate and incorporate duties relating to their responsibilities and the Standing Rules in their commissioning plans, contracts and governance.

Hempsons have been working with CCGs across the country on their establishment.  For expert help on how Hempsons can help your CCG, please contact Christian Dingwall at  Or click here to visit our CCG pages.