Welcome to Specialised Medicine
Specialised Medicine is an independent online publication for healthcare professionals and managers with a role or interest in specialised healthcare. It aims to:
- showcase innovation and best practice
- stimulate debate about specialised healthcare
- provide updates on guidance and policies from NHS England, NICE, and other professional bodies
- share learning from pioneering new models of care
- feature insights from all interested parties including healthcare professionals, commissioners, patient groups, charities, and the pharmaceutical industry.
Access to specialisedmedicine.co.uk is free for any UK healthcare professionals and NHS managers with a role or interest in specialised healthcare and commissioning. In print, Specialised Medicine is sent free of charge, four times yearly to relevant roles including: clinical directors, clinical leads, consultants, directors of public health, directors/heads of commissioning, hospital and medicines management pharmacists, medical directors, and other individuals who meet the publisher’s criteria.
By registering to use the website and/or receive the print journal, you will gain unlimited access:
- news and views on specialised healthcare
- feature articles from experts in specialised healthcare
- medicines corner—regular pharmacists’ feature on the practicalities of specialised medicines
- upskilling articles
- forthcoming specialised healthcare events calendar
- searchable database of patient access schemes
- list of NHS England clinical commissioning policies.
Plus, exclusive sponsored reference content:
- articles and case studies, written by experts
- summaries of NICE technology appraisals and clinical commissioning policies.
Sign up now—it takes less than a minute and you’ll get unlimited access to our expert, independent content.
What is specialised commissioning in the NHS?
Since the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (which came into force on 1 April 2013), NHS England has been directly responsible for commissioning specialised services. This means that NHS England acts as a single, national commissioner, putting in place standards and service specifications across the whole country.
Four factors determine whether NHS England commissions a service as a prescribed specialised service. These are the:
- number of individuals who require the service
- cost of providing the service or facility
- number of people able to provide the service or facility
- financial implications for clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) if they were required to arrange for provision of the service or facility themselves.
In practice, this means that specialised services are for people with rare and/or complex conditions such as rare cancers, genetic disorders, or complex medical or surgical conditions. Specialised services often deliver cutting-edge care and can be a catalyst for innovation, supporting pioneering clinical practice in the NHS.
NHS England is responsible for commissioning 146 specialised services with a budget of £16.6 billion—15% of the total NHS budget—and this budget has increased more rapidly than in other parts of the NHS.
Specialised commissioning is grouped into six national programmes of care (NPoC):
- internal medicine—digestion, renal, hepatobiliary, and circulatory system
- blood and infection—infection, immunity, and haematology
- mental health
- trauma—traumatic injury, orthopaedics, head and neck, and rehabilitation
- women and children—women and children, congenital, and inherited diseases.
For more detail on the NHS England specialised commissioning processes and structures, read an overview article by Medicine‘s Consultant Editor, Alastair Whitington.
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