A review of the effectiveness of primary care-led commissioning and its place in the NHS

October 2004

Judith Smith
Nicholas Mays
Nick Goodwin
Richard Lewis
Siobhan McClelland
Hugh McLeod
Sally Wyke

Key points

  • This report sets out the findings of a review of the evidence on the effectiveness of primary care-led commissioning and its place in the NHS.
  • The principal aim of the review was to identify the organisational and process factors associated with effective primary care-led commissioning and also their relevance to other approaches.
  • The project was funded by The Health Foundation and took place over the period February to August 2004

Our suggested definition for primary care-led commissioning, based on this review of the evidence and our understanding of contemporary health policy, is as follows:

'Commissioning led by primary health care clinicians, particularly GPs, using their accumulated knowledge of their patients’ needs and of the performance of services, together with their experience as agents for their patients and control over resources, to direct the health needs assessment, service specification and quality standard setting stages in the commissioning process in order to improve the quality and efficiency of health services used by their patients.'

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