Commissioning support units and managing directors mapped

The NHS Commissioning Board has published a list of the managing directors of commissioning support units (CSUs), which will provide support services to most clinical commissioning groups. We don’t yet know exactly which CCGs will be using CSUs, but there is enough information to put them on a map, along with their managing directors and email addresses.

Map removed as Google Fusion Tables no longer works.

But who are the managing directors? Firstly, there are fewer than you might think: 22 CSUs are sharing 19 permanent managing directors, as three have two CSUs each. Derek Kitchen is running both Lancashire and Staffordshire; Tim Andrews is managing Merseyside and Cheshire, Warrington and Wirral; and David Stout is controlling Essex and NHS Hertfordshire Integrated CSU.

This sharing, along with the fact that Norfolk and Waveney CSU has yet to appoint a permanent managing director, suggests the commissioning board has had a tough job making appointments. This is reinforced by the time which has elapsed between the announcement of the first batch of nine MDs in early July (when CSUs were still called CSSs), and the most recent appointment – John Wilderspin of NHS South Central CSU – on 24 October.

Secondly, almost all of the managing directors are moving from jobs elsewhere in the health service. CSUs will be ‘externalised’ from the NHS by April 2016 – such as through commercial joint-ventures or a staff mutual model – and are expected to be self-sustaining businesses from April next year. It is true that, with many primary care trust and strategic health authority managers looking for new jobs, it makes sense to transfer some to new roles at CSUs rather than lose their expertise. Also, some CSU MDs have private sector experience: for example, Ming Tang, MD of South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw CSU, previously worked for Accenture in the UK and Australia before moving to the NHS. Even so, it is a bit surprising that there aren’t more bosses from the private sector.

It is still early days for CSUs. Hopefully they will overcome the apparent difficulties in appointing their managing directors, as CCGs – in many cases smaller than the PCTs they replace – will need strong support when they take over primary care next April.

NHS Commissioning Support Units: CSU-zy names, CSU-zy regions