GPs facing 'legal minefield', lawyer warns

GPs could face a legal minefield if they fail to understand the full range of responsibilities they will be taking on from PCTs, a legal expert has warned.

Oliver Pritchard, partner and head of the commercial health at law firm Browne Jacobson, spoke about his concerns at a commissioning event in London.

Mr Pritchard warned that consortia could face 'crippling' fines if they fail to follow stringent procurement rules or adopt robust governance arrangements when awarding contracts.

He said many GPs getting involved in commissioning have 'little understanding' of procurement processes and principles of governance that needed to be adopted.

Mr Pritchard added: ‘Many GPs are getting involved in setting up provider services as well as sitting on consortia boards, which can give rise to conflicts of interest.

‘They are risking slurs on their professional reputation by not following the rules to the letter and could even be held personally liable in extreme cases if it can be shown they benefitted financially.’

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