CCG leaders not 'too busy to see patients' as research finds millions spent on locums

By Marina Soteriou, 13 March 2012

Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) leaders have said it is 'nonsense' to claim GPs are too busy with commissioning to see patients after research found millions is being spent on locum cover after the introduction of CCGs.

Dr Mike Dixon: ‘It is completely inflammatory to say that GPs are too busy with commissioning to see patients'

Dr Mike Dixon: ‘It is completely inflammatory to say that GPs are too busy with commissioning to see patients'

Freedom of Information requests from PCTs made by the TUC-backed research group False Economy in today’s Guardian claims that in some CCG areas up to 15 GPs are each spending up to two days a week away from practices, at a cost of almost £1 million a year.

NHS Alliance chairman and Devon GP Dr Mike Dixon said: ‘It is complete nonsense. It is completely inflammatory to say that GPs are too busy with commissioning to see patients.

‘It is a small number of GPs. It is inevitable that they need time now we are involved with leadership roles.

‘In the past we have had clinical leaders involved and they have not been paid sufficiently to do the job that is needed. They have been paid less than their GP work.’

The requests show how many GPs are involved in setting up CCGs, how much time each is spending on implementing CCGs and cover costs.

National Association of Primary Care chairman and Surrey GP Dr Charles Alessi said: ‘With CCG management you have one or two GPs who are intimately involved with commissioning but the contracting will be by managers.

‘There will be some backfill by a locum but that will be one or two for each CCG.

‘A lot of work that GPs do after seeing patients is around developing services based around patient care. We commission care. This is what we do.

‘It is something that has always happened but we need to make sure that it does not become a bureaucratic nightmare.’

The Guardian quotes Labour fears that patients could lose out in the new set up because some GPs will spend part, much or all of their week helping to run CCGs.

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