AFTER three years of working within special measures, the body in charge of spending for Northumberland’s NHS service has been rated ‘good’.

NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will now be able to return to full financial independence, after initially being put in special measures by NHS England because of a budget overspend.

The new rating means the CCG has moved up two levels, as well as receiving outstanding ratings specifically in the areas of cancer care, mental health and diabetes.

Graham Syers, clinical director of primary care, said the CCG was required to follow a recovery plan to bring it out of special measures. The recent inspection noted improvements in financial governance and overall accountability.

During the recovery plan period Mr Syers said the CCG put new systems in place and re-evaluated services to ensure they were receiving the best value for money.

“It is superb news,” he said.

“It reinforces the good work that has been done and it’s making sure that people in the organisation who have got us to this point are getting really good feedback on what they have been doing.”

He hoped it would mean the CCG could make further improvements, adding: “When you are in special measures it means you are focusing on a recovery plan, which is a pretty difficult place to be if you are looking at new ways of working and trying to be a bit more progressive with what you are trying to do.”

The CCG will now be able to try more innovative ways of working, such as pilot schemes, while Mr Syers said it would also allow more focus on primary care.