NHS South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group has been placed under special measures by NHS England.

The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) was rated as ‘Inadequate’ under NHS England’s improvement and assessment framework (IAF) after reporting an overspend of more than £8 million in the 2017-18 financial year.

The CCG will be subject to closer scrutiny by NHS England and will be required to develop a rapid improvement plan alongside Britain’s national health organisation.

The overspend in South Tees was blamed on a growth in continuing care needs as well as increased costs in prescribing and emergency care.

In a stakeholder briefing, Dr Janet Walker, chair of South Tees CCG, said it was experiencing “significant financial pressures”.

Walker added that the health body was “absolutely determined” to work with NHS England to improve its rating.

Special measures are NHS England’s response to CCGs that need to show significant improvement in at least one of the areas of leadership, financial management and quality.

Once an improvement plan has been agreed upon, delivery will be monitored regularly and the CCG will only exit special measures when it has met all the agreed objectives.

‘Significant action’

Walker said that South Tees CCG had already taken “significant action” to address its financial pressures, which she put down to “bold, but difficult decisions” made by the health body around local services.

She noted in particular improvements to diagnosis and treatment services, psychological therapies and the introduction of community and specialist stroke services Redcar Primary Care Hospital.

“Changes we have made to urgent care services by replacing walk in centres with GP hubs have made a positive impact on our A&E performance,” said Walker.

“When making these decisions, the health and welfare of our patients has been a key consideration to support patients being seen in the right place first time.”

NHS England declined to provide a comment when contacted by Digital Health News.

Whilst CCGs under special measures are deemed to be performing at a level lower than required, it does not mean there have been failings in quality and safety.

“We will work hard to ensure that we continue to commission services on behalf of the people in Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland that are good quality, safe and provide value for money,” said Walker.