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Increasing Value: Commissioning on the Front Line

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Book: Increasing Value: Commissioning on the Front Line

Author: Philip DaSilva

Publisher: Kingsham Press

Reviewer: Jonathan Webster, PhD, MSc, BA(Hons), RGN, acting director of Nursing & Quality NHS NW London Cluster and Director of Quality & Patient Safety CWHH CCGs Commissioning Collaborative

What was it like?

“Commissioning is first & foremost about patients. Clinical Commissioning is about how, as clinicians, we can do more for our patients and vastly extend the depth and range of the possible.” As a nurse in a commissioning role this quote by Philip Dixon has much resonance and captures in essence the core of what commissioning is about.

In his book, Philip DaSila describes in practical terms what commissioning is about how commissioning will look differently when Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) take on statutory accountability for commissioning with the abolition of PCTs and Strategic Health Authorities. The author captures the immense change in the NHS system at the current time along with a clear understanding of the “tensions” and “challenges” balanced against the opportunities to reshape and change ways of commissioning.

What were the highlights? 

Throughout his writing Philip DaSilva demystifies what commissioning is about whilst focusing on the centrality of patients service users; the health needs of populations and communities and the underpinning importance of “quality”, he also embraces patient empowerment and engagement as being one of the cornerstones of commissioning. 

The author recognises that too frequently there is a “divide” between clinicians delivering services on the front-line, those responsible for planning or commissioning and those whose main role is to lead and manage services. The reality should be that there is no divide or division rather a greater integration of front-line professional expertise and knowledge to: improve care for patients; inform the commissioning cycle and increase value from available resources. Philip DaSilva identifies that clinicians should be the “architects of change” in which as clinicians we map out the terrain and build shape the future. As such there are important roles to fulfil:

Leading – embracing change and ensuring it becomes an opportunity through innovation;

Reconciling – recognising the tensions and conflicts that arise and not letting them dominate, so that change can be positive;and

Involving – engaging with patients as never before both in the choices about their own personal healthcare, in decisions about how money is spent and how the wider NHS services are configured.

Strengths & weaknesses:

“Increasing Value: Commissioning on the Front Line” is highly recommendable as it captures the essence of commissioning in a style that is engaging, informative and thought provoking.

Who should read it?

This book is aimed at any nurse who wishes to understand commissioning in greater detail irrespective of where they currently work within the spectrum of organisations that either provide or commission services for patients.

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