The Clinical Priorities Advisory Group (CPAG) makes recommendations on NHS England’s approach to commissioning services, treatments and technologies, and considers which of these should be prioritised for investment. Its scope includes all specialised services provided by NHS England.

The advisory group assesses drugs, medical devices and treatments according to their clinical effectiveness, benefit for patients and value for money. It considers recommendations from clinical reference groups (CRGs) and teams covering NHS England’s specialised commissioning responsibilities and takes into account detailed information about the financial impact.

It seeks to make sure that commissioning approaches have:
– been developed with the engagement of clinicians from CRGs or bespoke working groups
– been developed with public and patient engagement to a level proportionate with the impact of the decision
– considered the need to promote equity of access and tackle health inequalities
– been informed by the evidence base
– considered consistency with other commissioning policies of NHS England.

The CPAG is not a decision-making body, but makes formal recommendations to NHS England about the commissioning of services when there could be a substantial change in service provision. With specialised services, the CPAG’s recommendations are considered by the Specialised Commissioning Oversight Group to determine the available resources and the commissioning implications of the service change.

Ultimately, decisions are made and overseen by the Specialised Commissioning Committee – a subgroup of the NHS England Board.
The CPAG is able to call on the full range of expertise of its members to make recommendations: its independent chair, patient and public voice representatives and members with clinical, commissioning and financial expertise. 
As and when appropriate, the CPAG engages with other NHS commissioners and stakeholders, such as clinical commissioning groups, and calls on sources of sound evidence from outside the NHS, professional bodies and other relevant organisations.