Revealed: big increase in costs of running NHS commissioning for Wiltshire

Written by Tony Millett on .

The costs of running the coalition government’s new system of commissioning health care in Wiltshire will be much higher than for the current system.  The GP-led NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) takes over from NHS Wiltshire (the Primary Care Trust or PCT) on April 1.

The Department of Health has set management or running costs at £25 per head of each CCG’s population. And Marlborough News Online has learnt that running costs for Wiltshire CCG will be £11,600,000 for their first year (2013-2014) of operation which is right up to the £25 per head limit.  

The equivalent costs for the PCT were £19 per head – making the CCG almost one third more costly to run.

These costs are being budgeted for despite the fact that the CCG has responsibility for fewer services than the PCT.  The CCG will not be commissioning primary care (the doctors themselves) or dentistry.  Responsibility and costs for public health have been transferred to local authorities. And the CCG will have no buildings to look after.

The PCT’s total budget for 2012-13 was £690 million.  Wiltshire CCG has been allocated a budget £503 million for 2013-14.

It is not clear how far the CCG’s complex constitution and structure (which we have already reported) accounts for this increase in management costs.

Marlborough News Online also understands that there are two nearby CCGs where running costs will be even higher than those for NHS Wiltshire CCG.

The coalition’s White Paper of July 2010 which outlined the restructuring eventually passed into law as the Health and Social Care Act, stated its aim as ‘radically simplifying the architecture of the health care system’.  In doing so it promised to reduce NHS management costs by more than 45 per cent over four years and asserted the aim of ‘strengthening democratic legitimacy’.

Supporters of the coalition’s restructuring have emphasised how the Health and Social Care Act removes the PCT ‘layer of administration’ and that savings on management costs will go to fund front line services.