The successes of now-defunct primary care trusts must not be forgotten in the redrawn commissioning structure, the NHS Confederation has warned.
The statement comes alongside the publication of report, Ambition, challenge, transition: reflections on a decade of NHS commissioning that oprovides practical advice and recommendations for commissioners in the new system.
The report draws on interviews with leading figures from in and around PCTs and highlights successes and pitfalls to learn from.
Mike Farrar, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: "It would be wrong to pretend the past decade has been plain sailing, but it would be equally wrong to think NHS commissioning is starting again from scratch.
"From when they first took on their full responsibilities in 2002, many PCTs made significant progress in developing the process of health service commissioning, as well as improving the care of their local communities, and managing all the other challenges they faced."
He said it was vital this knowledge was not lost in the new era of commissioning, adding: "April 2013 isn't a blank sheet for new commissioners - they must stand on the shoulders of their predecessors' successes as they plan out the best way of improving services and the health of their populations."
The report is endorsed by NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC), the independent membership body representing clinical commissioning groups.
Dr Steve Kell, co-chair of the NHSCC's Leadership Group, GP and chair of NHS Bassetlaw Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "As clinicians, and as local commissioners, we recognise the importance of learning from previous commissioning arrangements in an open and constructive way.
"It is essential we take forward what worked, while learning the right lessons where things were not as effective as they might have been. We must build on the experience and insight from the past to have a strong and effective future."
The report was launched today at the NHSCC's conference in London today.
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