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NHSE appoints single boss for all CSUs

Published on: 24 Apr 2024

NHS England has appointed a single managing director to lead its four commissioning support units as part of an ongoing overhaul of their operating model.

Michael van Hemert will now lead the four CSUs. He has been the MD of the South, Central and West CSU since 2016.

The CSUs were set up in 2013 to support the then newly formed clinical commissioning groups, with a range of commissioning services and back-office administrative functions. They currently employ around 6,000 people and now provide services to integrated care boards, NHS England and some other customers.

There were initially 20 CSUs but that number has since dwindled through a succession of mergers, and ICBs bringing services in-house. NHSE, which effectively hosts and oversees the CSUs, wants to see operations at the remaining four consolidated and standardised.

It is reviewing CSUs’ operating model  and considering whether to amalgamate some or all of the organisations.

NHSE has yet to make a formal decision on the future of the MD positions at the other CSUs, which is likely to be decided in the ongoing review.

In a message to CSUs staff, shared with HSJ, NHSE said the units “will need to work increasingly collaboratively to operate at scale and in the most efficient and effective way, delivering high-quality services and value for money while offering rewarding work for colleagues”. 

It added: “To support this collaborative approach, we need to change the current operating model and how services are provided across the four CSUs.”

It said its first step was moving to a single managing director, then “our next step is to engage with colleagues across the system including CSUs, [integrated care boards] and NHS England so that together we can shape and develop proposals for the future CSU operating model”.