A CLINICAL commissioning group previously branded as ‘outstanding’ has been downgraded in a recent review by health chiefs.

East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been rated ‘good’ in NHS England’s annual assurance ratings.

But this year's rating has fallen short of the previous year's ranking.

East Lancashire CCG are the health commissioners responsible for buying NHS services in the boroughs of Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Ribble Valley and Rossendale.

Russ McLean, East Lancashire Patients Champion said the figures were down to a lack of engagement by the CCG.

Mr McLean said: “Over the last 12 months, patient engagement has been significantly lacking.

“Whilst they are in a position to provide health care on behalf of patients, they are public servants who need to better engage with the public.”

It follows NHS England’s publication of annual assurance ratings for all of the 209 CCGs across the country.

Some 120 CCGs across the country were rated as either ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.

The ratings measure the performance of CCGs in a number of key areas, including their leadership, financial management and performance.

But Mark Youlton, Accountable Officer at East Lancashire CCG, said the ‘exceptional demand’ on urgent care services in the area and underlying financial pressures had resulted in its ‘good’ rating.

Mr Youlton said: “NHS East Lancashire was rated as “good” in the latest NHS England Ratings which, alongside Blackpool CCG and Fylde and Wyre CCG, is the highest rating achieved out of the eight CCGs in Lancashire.

“The rating system is a very detailed analysis of each CCG involving 60 indicators which are rated and assessed to result in a final overall rating.

“Whilst we have been recognised as performing well, the challenges that the CCG faces through the exceptional demand we have on our local urgent care services and underlying financial pressures has resulted in our ‘good’ rating which is on par with a majority of CCGs throughout England.”

Graham Urwin, Director of Commissioning Operations for NHS England Lancashire & South Cumbria, said: “CCGs are operating within a challenging financial environment and the local health economy needs to work together to address these challenges."