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Background information

Development of the National Surgical Commissioning Centre

The commissioning guides are designed to assist clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to make decisions about appropriate healthcare for specific clinical circumstances and fulfil their obligation to commission healthcare for their population that meets the five domains in the NHS Outcomes Framework

To see the aim and objectives of this programme of work and how it has been developed since the start in 2012 click here

Further background to this project is described in this HSJ article.

Funding for the development of this suite of guides have been provided by

How to use the guides

The high value care pathways contained within each commissioning guide aims to provide patients, the public, health and social care professionals, commissioners and service providers with a clear description of what constitutes a high quality service.

Organisations can use the guides, along with the data analysis tools, to assess their current performance against evidence-based measures of best practice, and identify priorities for improvement.

Suggested audit and peer review measures will support the implementation of the recommendations through commissioning and contracting processes. Each commissioning guide provides examples of measures that can be used in the service specification and advice on how commissioners can incentivise the performance of service providers by using the indicators in association with incentive payments such as Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN).

Implementation of the guides is the responsibility of local commissioners and/or providers, in their local context, in light of their duties to avoid unlawful discrimination and to promote equality of access. Nothing in the guides should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.

Guide development process

NICE accreditation

Our commissioning guides are developed using a defined process that is accredited by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). As such they bear the NICE accreditation mark. For a full explanation of the accrediting process you can read the NICE accreditation process manual

Commissioning guide development

A summary of the development process is below and you can refer to the commissioning guide process manual for a more detailed explanation.

  • Guide development group: Each group is chaired by a consultant surgeon and has representation from key stakeholders, including primary and secondary care, commissioning and patient groups.
  • Initial workshop: this includes a description of the process, agreement of terms of reference for the guide and setting a work plan
  • Conflict of interest: Every member of the development group and peer reviewers are required to submit any conflict of interest and these are published at the end of each guide. To see the conflict of interest policy click here
  • Literature search: The development group define the boundaries of the literature review, which is completed by an external company.
  • Consultation and peer review: Each guide is sent out for public consultation and peer review (minimum of one commissioner, one surgeon and one patient, who have not been involved in the development process) for 4-6 weeks. In addition any organisations which have an interest in the topic area are invited to comment and the draft guide is posted on this website and that of the surgical specialty association during this period.
  • Final approval and publication: Feedback from the consultation period is reviewed by the development group and final changes are made prior to publication.

Revision of guides

The guides will be revised after 3 years or earlier if significant new evidence becomes available that would impact on the high value pathway.

Surgical commissioning guides from other organisation's

Royal College of Ophthalmologists

Commissioning guidance for Cataract and Glaucoma services are currently in development

Information about Ophthalmology commissioning resources are available from the 'Commissioning and Value for Money' pages