So-called Commissioning Support Units (CSUs) are behemoths created by fiat not legislation. There were 23 at the start, that dropped down to 19 and at latest report 16 continue to lumber around in CCG land. As their numbers shrink they grow bigger and more remote from the CCGs they are supposed to be supporting. They should have stood on their own feet in a market by 2014 – if they were able to. But that’s been kicked down the road and into the tall grass.
After the life-support extension letter to 2016 from NHS England, CSUs are really zombies. Like private sector “zombie companies” they are only half alive, unable to survive without special treatment or to sustain themselves through outside investment. This poses a huge danger to CCGs and their great need to engage effectively and co-produce local changes in services and survive the cold climate of the coming years.
It was never meant to be like that. Too much scarce CCG cash is being sucked into transactional busywork by CSUs rather than supporting co-produced service redesign and deep community engagement. Too many CCGs have given away control of comms and engagement as if they were just “support functions”. They aren’t. This could prove fatal to them when CCGs hit choppy waters of local resistance to change.
We’ve got some ideas about how CCGs can escape the clutches of the zombies before it is too late. Read it all here