Commissioning Health Services

Nurse with child

NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is responsible for commissioning most of the healthcare for the people of Peterborough and Cambridgeshire including GPs, acute hospitals, community, and mental health services.

What does NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough do?

NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is responsible for commissioning (planning, buying, and monitoring):

  • The care and treatment you may need in hospital and community health services, including district nurses, physiotherapy, and other therapies
  • Urgent and emergency care (including out-of-hours)
  • The medicines you may be prescribed
  • Mental health services
  • Support and services for people living with learning disabilities

Importantly NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is not responsible for dentists, opticians, and some specialist services such as children’s head injury rehabilitation – these areas are commissioned by NHS England.

Like other NHS organisations across the country, NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is part of an Integrated Care System (ICS).

Integrated Care Systems, or ICSs, are partnerships between organisations that meet health and care needs across an area. In our case, our Integrated Care System covers all of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

By working together under one umbrella organisation, different parts of the health and care system are better able to improve the health and wellbeing of local communities, reducing health inequalities and putting patients at the heart of everything we do.

Organisations that form part of the ICS include all NHS Trusts and organisations, Local Authorities, and key voluntary sector partners. In our area this includes:

Two local authorities:

  •  Peterborough City Council
  •  Cambridgeshire County Council

Five district councils

  • Cambridge City Council
  • East Cambridgeshire District Council
  • South Cambridgeshire District Council
  • Fenland District Council
  • Huntingdonshire District Council

Three hospital providers

  • North-West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust (NWAngliaFT)
  • Cambridge University Hospitals NHS
  • Foundation Trust (CUH)
  • Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (RPH)

Two community providers

  • Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT)
  • Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Foundation Trust (CCS)


  • East of England Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (EEAST)85 GP practices
  • Cambridgeshire Local Medical Committee
  • Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
  • The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Health and Wellbeing Board
  • Other partners, including parish councils as well as voluntary, community and faith organisations

Although NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will no longer be a separate organisation under the ICS, our hardworking staff will keep fulfilling a crucial role as strategic commissioners for our area.

Rather than providing healthcare and social care in separate, and sometimes isolated, parts of the system, the ICS approaches each patient’s health and social care needs as a whole.

This will help us offer better, more consistent treatment to our patients. Among other things, the ICS will help us achieve this by:

  • Delivering care as close as possible to homes of the communities we serve – where possible, local providers will be empowered to design and deliver care on a local level
  • Introducing a shared care record which will allow us to understand the patient’s needs as a whole
  • Using public health data to inform decisions across the system Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council also manage some local services such as Health Visiting and School Nursing.

More information about Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Children's Commissioning (Cambridgeshire Insight).

Designated Clinical Officer

The Designated Clinical Officer supports NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to meet its statutory responsibilities for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and agrees to the health services within education, health, and care plan.

The Designated Clinical Officer (DCO) for SEND ensures health’s compliance with the legislation and spirit of the SEND code of practice (under the children’s and families act 2014) leading to improved outcomes for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

The Designated Clinical Officer:

  • Is a point of contact for local partners, when notifying parents and the local authority about children and young people they believe have or may have SEN or a disability
  • Offers advice on SEN or disabilities
  • Provides health advice to local authorities, schools, and colleges regarding children and young people with SEN or disabilities
  • Provides a contact for NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough or health providers so that appropriate notification can be given to the local authority of children under 5 years who they think may have SEN or a disability
  • Agrees with the health services within the education, health, and care (EHC) plan

If you have any questions, please contact the designated clinical officer for SEND, Siobhan Weaver, on 01733 847 326 or email:

Continuing Care

Some children and young people (up to age 18), may have very complex health needs.

These may be the result of:

  • Congenital conditions
  • Long-term or life-limiting conditions
  • Disability
  • Serious illness or injury

Children with such complex needs may need additional health support to that which is routinely available from GP practices, hospitals, or in the community.

This additional package of care is called continuing care. NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, which is responsible for arranging for health services locally, has responsibility for assessing children and young people to see if they need a package of continuing care.

Any child or young person up to their 18th birthday who has a complex health need may be eligible.

There are significant differences between children and young people’s continuing care and NHS Continuing Healthcare for adults. Although a child or young person may be in receipt of a package of continuing care, they may not be eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare.

Read the National Framework for Children and Young People’s Continuing Care (PDF 929KB)

NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will assess any young person in receipt of continuing care when they are aged 16-17, to see if they are likely to be eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare when they turn 18. This is part of transition planning.

A referral can be made by any health professional or carer who feels a continuing care package may be required. Continuing care requests need to be supported by clinical reports and recommendations from professionals involved with your child. However, your GP should be able to help you with this.

When a child or young person is referred for an assessment, NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough might first check if they are likely to need a full assessment.

The Continuing Care Commissioning Specialist Nurse and the Nurse Assessors are responsible for the assessment of whether a child or young person has continuing care needs in line with the Children and Young People’s Continuing Care National Framework.

The national framework provides guidance, and a set of categories of needs to support decisions on whether a child has a continuing care need.

An important part of the assessment is to capture the preferences of the child or young person and their family.

The assessment will look at the current care being provided but a decision on whether a child or young person has a continuing care need is based on the nature of their needs, rather than the care available, or whether they have a particular condition.

The Continuing Care Commissioning Specialist Nurse and the Nurse Assessor will make a case to a panel of experts, who decide based on the evidence, and the recommendation, if the child or young person has a continuing care need.

A decision is usually made 6-8 weeks from referral. Depending on the decision, a package of care is then agreed upon; some of this care may be provided through existing services; some may need to be specially arranged.

NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will keep the package of care under regular review to ensure the developing child or young person’s needs continue to be supported. A child or young person’s eligibility for continuing care may change as their needs change.


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