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RCGP commissioning scheme has ‘died a death’

5 March 2012

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The Royal College of GPs’ (RCGP) commissioning support programme has “died a death” since it chose to publicly oppose the government’s health reforms. 

Russell Vine, Chair of the Practice Management Network and one of the RCGP’s Clinical Commissioning Champions, said a GP ‘backlash’ against the college for coming out against the Health Bill at such a late stage has left members of its commissioning programme “in a state of confusion”. 

“The commissioning development scheme is ticking along quietly in the background while the college waits for the dust [on the Health Bill] to settle,” he told MiP

“No work is being done in the meantime and it has completely lost momentum. 

“Frankly it has died a death.” 

Launched in July 2010 in response to the government’s NHS White Paper Equity and Excellence: liberating the NHSthe RCGP’s Centre for Commissioning has faced reorganisation battles and funding issues after its partnership with the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement dissolved in September 2011. 

“Last year’s reorganisation led to fifty clinical commissioning champions falling by the wayside, which created disjointed working,” he said. 

“There are only a dozen or so key drivers left and the college’s opposition to the Health Bill has further increased the level of confusion among members. 

“The longer the bill is in parliament, the faster the RCGP’s commissioning support programme will ebb away.” 

In a statement to MiP, the RCGP’s Centre for Commissioning Clinical Lead Dr David Paynton insisted the programme “remains active”.

“Though the college is in direct opposition to the Bill, we have been very clear on the distinction between the Bill in and of itself, and the importance of the role of GPs in the planning and delivery of local services for the benefit of their patients, something the college has always supported,” he said.

“The RCGP Centre for Commissioning remains active, and we have been reviewing how the RCGP can best support its members and add value within commissioning by looking at the work, ongoing structure and plans for the Centre.”

By Louise Naughton and Stuart Gidden