The Chief Executive of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust recently wrote a letter to the NHS England‘s National Director for Commissioning Operations to help ensure that budget responsibility and delivery of cystic fibrosis (CF) services are not shifted to local commissioners. Ed Owen expressed his concern over the outcome of last week’s NHS England’s board meeting held Thursday, November 6, regarding new tier assignments of certain health issues.
“People with cystic fibrosis should not be subjected, yet again, to uncertainty in relation to the care they receive. National commissioning is beginning to bring forward the advances in quality and equity of access that we have long campaigned to see,” said Ed Owen, Chief Executive of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. “We urge NHS England to confirm that cystic fibrosis services will continue to be nationally commissioned, directed and accountable.”
While the current status of rare and serious diseases’ healthcare services, such as those for CF, remain nationally commissioned, the Trust is concerned the proposed three tiers of commissioning will soon affect the significant progress CF has made in the country. According to the NHS meeting, Tier 1 services are planned and commissioned nationally, while Tier 2 services have a closer involvement with smaller Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).
A local devolvement would reduce accountability and create substantial disparities in nationwide provision of care, which goes against the Trust’s Standards of Care, filed in 2011, which states service providers are accountable for delivering the best possible quality of care, regardless of location. Additionally, the Payment by Results (PbR) tariff, based on the UK Cystic Fibrosis Registry, assures fair spending based on the number of patients per service.
Owen writes in his letter, “We are clear that cystic fibrosis services will only achieve continuous improvement and equity of access through national planning and commissioning and are concerned that any move to co-commissioning services with CCGs would jeopardise the enormous progress we have seen in recent years.” He is seeking confirmation of the retention of CF services’ Tier 1 classification.
In other CF news, a team of undergrad researchers from the University of Dundee recently won an international award for their breakthrough work on harnessing genetically-modified E. coli to detect the presence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in sputum samples of CF patients.