THE group in charge of health services in Shropshire has improved its rating.

Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group is now rated by NHS England as ‘requires improvement’ following its annual assessment.

It had been rated ‘inadequate’ since the new ratings were introduced in 2015/16.

Dr Julian Povey, chairman of the CCG, said it was a “positive” step.

“This is generally a good move and we can go up only one step at a time,” he said.

The report by NHS England noted the hard work of the CCG and, in particular, the “significant work” to get the Future Fit programme through the NHS England assurance process, which resulted in the allocation of capital funding.

It also said the CCG had “strengthened” its executive team and governing body, described its achievement against QIPP (quality, innovation, productivity and prevention) as “impressive”, and praised the work on the midwife-led unit review.

However, the report did say the principal area of challenge for the CCG is its A&E performance and its finances.

Dr Povey said work was already under way to implement the actions from NHS England.

These included supporting its executive team and governing body members as they lead the Future Fit programme, and working with partners to accelerate an ‘out-of-hospital’ model which will introduce “clinically and financially sustainable provision”.

Dr Povey added: “Overall, it is a positive message to the CCG and its staff.

“It has recognised the improvements we have made.”

The annual assessment report features 195 CCGs, of which 18 are rated inadequate.

There are four possible ratings: inadequate, requires improvement, good and outstanding.