GPs may be subject to provider licences from economic regulator Monitor under the reformed NHS.
Speaking at the NHS Clinical Commissioners conference in London yesterday (24 April), Monitor Chair and interim Chief Executive Dr David Bennett said general practice could find themselves having to become licensed by Monitors as providers of care.
He went on to say even those GPs exempt from provider licensing will need to adhere to its “fundamental principles”.
The role of competition law is also unclear.
“EU competition law applies throughout the UK but the extent to which it will apply to CCGs is unclear,” he said.
“Similarly, GPs could be covered by competition law but will probably not be tested.”
Also speaking at the event, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said Monitor should “look closely” at tiered licensing for smaller providers and ensure a combined process with the CQC to reduce the burden for general practice.
Crawley CCG Chair Dr Amit Bhargava said Monitor’s involvement in the reformed NHS could put CCGs off working together.
“CCG partnerships may highlight the role of general practice as providers of care,” he said.
“CCGs must ensure they collaborate and not be seen to be colluding. The transparency of decision making is key to ensuring this.”
By Louise Naughton