Editorial: Best CCGs will have the backing of GPs

Who would have thought when GP magazine launched the results of its 'Rate Your PCT' survey in March 2010 that the demise of PCTs would be quite so imminent?

The story at that time was headlined: 'GPs vote "no confidence" in managers'. The UK survey found that just 15% had confidence in their PCT or primary care organisation. Was then shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley reading?

Just over three years later and the results of the first GP assessment of CCGs are in (What GPs really think about CCGs, pages 21-22).

A little unfair perhaps, because technically, CCGs have only been up and running for a fortnight, but the results should at the very least provide a benchmark for opinion at their birth.

Less than a quarter of respondents (24%) think the move would improve the NHS locally and almost three-quarters (73%) think the new bodies' inception has been to take the blame for rationing NHS services.

Elsewhere, however, there are encouraging signs: 40% rated their CCG as excellent or good in its use of resources, and a similar figure (44%) thought its performance was excellent or good at providing best possible care.

It is, of course, early days for CCGs, but the trick, as a contributor to our letters page points out (page 26), is to ensure they are not seen as 'the enemy'. The last thing that is needed is reappointment of PCT managers in the same roles with attitudes unchanged.

The best clinical CCG leaders will be engaging their GPs, particularly vital when there are tough decisions to be made. The journey ahead will be littered with obstacles (the Lewisham example on page 22 is a case in point) but there is no denying the common sense of having better GP representation at the helm of such organisations.

Those CCGs that are the most successful will have strong GP leaders who will inspire and convince their GPs about the local futures they are improving. The perils of a CCG alienating its GP practices do not bear thinking about for either party.

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