Commissioning healthcare services

NHS commissioning is the systematic process used to ensure that the services provided match the health needs of the population. It involves planning, setting priorities, funding and procuring services that deliver the best care to match patient needs.

A PCT's commissioning functions and responsibilities are complex and include:

  • Engaging with its local population in order to improve the user experience and offer a greater choice of care.
  • Improving the health of the population through identifying unmet health need and reducing health inequalities.
  • Enabling easier access to a comprehensive and equitable range of high quality, responsive services.
  • Ensuring the delivery of efficient services within allocated resources, ensuring best value at all times.

The Improvement Foundation continues to be at the forefront of this developing agenda, having offered a range of programmes to support commissioning and its outcomes since 2003.

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New developments

The Improvement Foundation is currently offering an Advanced Commissioning Course to develop clinicians and managers to lead commissioning.

Practice based commissioning (PBC) support is also available - we are enabling PCT and PBC commissioners to further develop their capacity and capability to implement PBC, along with strengthening the infrastructure to support implementation. Our flexible approach to delivery enables us to tailor support programmes to the identified needs of the individual PCT or commissioning consortia.

We also offer tailored support for the delivery of World Class Commissioning and the 18 weeks target


Ongoing support

The learning from the National Primary Care Contracting Collaborative (NPCCC) and from the West Yorkshire Programme was used to develop the Improvement Foundation's national Practice Based Commissioning Development Programme, which was commissioned by the Department of Health in 2006.

The NPCCC focused on redesigning improved services in sexual health, mental health and implementing the Unique Care - integrated care for people with complex needs model for vulnerable patients, as well as redesigning commissioning systems.

The West Yorkshire Programme focused on redesigning care pathways in urology, orthopaedics and ear, nose and throat, as well as redesigning commissioning systems in PCTs.

If you are interested in working with the Improvement Foundation please go to How we can help or click here to contact us.