Exclusive: CCGs risk 'culture of dependency' on private firms

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) risk developing a cul­ture of dependency on support from private consultancy firms, GP leaders have warned.

Dr Nagpaul: 'It is clear that if CCGs are set up in this way they will by default end up as organisations that outsource their management functions to a commercial org­anisation'
Dr Nagpaul: 'It is clear that if CCGs are set up in this way they will by default end up as organisations that outsource their management functions to a commercial org­anisation'

The comments came after a GP investigation found that CCGs had spent six-figure sums on support for commissioning and organisational dev­elopment.

A total of 84 PCTs covering 159 CCGs responded to a Freedom of Information req­uest which revealed that at least 29 CCGs have employed private companies.

In Surrey, four CCGs spent £409,473 on commissioning support from limited companies. A further seven CCGs were receiving support from their PCT cluster.

GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul has warned that support from private companies could lead to the disempowerment of GPs and privatisation of NHS management.

‘It is clear that if CCGs are set up in this way they will by default end up as organisations that outsource their management functions to a commercial org­anisation,’ he said.

The GPC has also warned that reliance on commissioning support functions in PCT clusters, which could become private organisations once the NHS Commissioning Board takes shape, could be equally damaging.

But CCG leaders disputed the GPC warnings. GP lead for North and West Reading CCG Dr Rod Smith said he had no concerns about private sector support and his PCT cluster had used a private company to help set up a commissioning support organisation.

Dr Shane Gordon, chief executive of North East Essex CCG, also que­stioned the GPC’s concerns. ‘It clearly thinks someone is going to come along and do something dreadful but it has never said what that something dreadful is.’

NHS Confederation deputy chief executive David Stout said there was nothing to fear from companies offering developmental and managerial support.

‘In terms of developmental support, most organisations would look outside themselves for this kind of thing,’ he said.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus