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Get your GP commissioning consortia together now, urges NHS Alliance leader

28 July 2010

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GP commissioners should work with PCTs and get their GP consortia up and running as soon as possible, the chairman of the NHS Alliance has said.

Addressing 180 future GP commissioning leaders, including practice managers, GPs, PBC leads and cluster managers, Dr Michael Dixon said: “Time is of the essence. We need to get this off the ground as quickly as possible. As with flying, we will need many flying hours before we are confident and prepared to go solo in 2013.”

He also urged collaboration: “GP commissioners and PCTs need to support each other,” he said.

“The new set up will work best where there are arrangements for strong partnerships between GP consortia and PCTs, which will be invaluable in terms of sharing their skills and expertise in how to cope with budgets, as well as statutory and other management responsibilities.”

Dr Dixon, pictured, a supporter of the government’s new plans to hand budgetary control to GPs, outlined in the white paper, said: “It will be crucial to ensure we have proper governance, especially where GP commissioning decisions might advantage providing practices within a GP consortium and fuel self interest.

“However, we must make the system fluid so that we can allow future GP consortia to carry out ‘make or buy’ decisions within reason as a means of rapid redesign and moving services from secondary to primary care.

“The processes of procurement must be streamlined so that the right decisions can be made and implemented quickly. Otherwise, clinicians and patients will walk away.”

NHS Alliance

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

“In Birmingham I am hoping there are some GPs that can be contacted and liaised with regarding Mental Health Patient Choices – which have lagged behind terribly – and I do believe the market and choices needs opening up by the positive use of GP commissioning and supply sides for instance in psychological therapies that use private provision and more styles other than Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. I monitor mental health and would certainly want to positively input into the creation of better local choices for those with mental health issues” – Paul Tovey, Birmingham