GP led commissioning – what does it all mean?

  • Posted

Posted 07/10/2012

The Primary Care Sector is undertaking its biggest shake up since the formation of the National Health Service and as a result we are hearing lots of unexplained buzzwords such as  ‘Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG’s)’ and a greater emphasis on ‘patient focused care’, but what does it all mean? Will things improve?

The changes to primary care services will mean that our GPs will still continue with their current responsibilities. However, in addition they will also be responsible for managing huge financial budgets. Rather than a Primary Care Trust in the background holding the purse strings and making the final financial decisions, PCTs are to be abolished and GPs will be responsible for making key decisions on whether the patient will or will not receive potentially life saving treatment. In order to manage this additional responsibility, GPs will be obliged to group together as Clinical Commissioning Groups which will be overseen by the NHS Commissioning Board.

All GP surgeries must be part of a CCG before April 2013, but they will not be authorised to ‘commission services’ until they are considered willing and able to do so.

Sharon Allison, a medical injury lawyer from Ashtons Legal says: “GPs will have to run their budgets very commercially if they are to assist with the £20billion of efficiency savings needed within the NHS. They will have be selective over the money that is spent to ensure that it is the most productive. One can foresee that this is going to be difficult in treatment of terminal illness or expensive innovative healthcare initiatives. First class communication is going to be needed from GPs to ensure that patients understand the rationale for the care they receive.

All of this additional responsibility coincides with the current position, confirmed by the General Medical Council, that there has been a 23% increase in complaints made about doctors and nearly half of those complaints were about GPs, as opposed to other doctors.

With communication being one of the biggest factors in complaints, it is concerning that communication is fundamental to the success of GP led commissioning from the patient’s perspective. Over the coming years, we will see an unprecedented change to health services. It remains to be seen what changes will be for the better”.

If you have a query about a medical injury claim, please do not hesitate to contact Sharon Allison or any member of the medical injury team on 01842 752401.


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