Commissioning rules go beyond NHS Future Forum recommendations

Tightened rules on the make-up of clinical commissioning groups go further than the NHS Future Forum recommended and could cause problems, chairman Professor Steve Field warned.

Professor Field: ‘The government has gone further than we recommended''
Professor Field: ‘The government has gone further than we recommended''

He also warned that, as clinical commissioning groups look to have their structures authorised they will find they are too small and will need to merge.

Professor Field, who chaired the Health Bill listening exercise, raised his concerns at the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Primary Care and Public Health on Wednesday.

He said the listening exercise heard a lot of concerns about GPs being ‘unaccountable, lining their pockets with money and the governance arrangements allowing them to do that’.

‘What’s happened is that the Future Forum report has triggered the government into giving an entirely appropriate response,’ he said. ‘It has gone further than we recommended and in some areas that might cause some difficulties.’

He added: ‘I think it’s a mistake to say there must be a specialist doctor on each of the boards. All the consortia I’ve met, and I’ve met many hundreds, are all involving specialists and nurses anyway and I’m not into tokenism.  But then the government has gone further than we recommended.’

Professor Field said the authorisation process would be important for groups set up as GP consortia becoming clinical commission groups.

‘The key is going to be the authorisation process and there is a toolkit that is being trialled at the moment that seems pretty good to help consortia look at how they can move forward into the new world of clinical commissioning groups,’ he said.

‘It will become apparent to many of them that they are probably too small to survive in the new world and they will need to look at merging.’

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