GPs right to stand up to CCGs, says GPC

GP leaders have welcomed cases of GPs rejecting top-down decisions made by their clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).

Dr Buckman: ‘We’re encouraged to hear examples of GPs feeling empowered to say no when CCGs are forced into rapid clustering against their will'
Dr Buckman: ‘We’re encouraged to hear examples of GPs feeling empowered to say no when CCGs are forced into rapid clustering against their will'

Speaking after a GPC meeting last week, GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said guidance published by the committee on CCG constitutions could help empower more GPs to reject decisions they did not agree with.

The guidance sets out what should and should not be in a CCG constitution, such as membership and structure arrangements. The GPC said CCG constitutions must ensure that all GPs are fully involved in their commissioning group.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey added: ‘What we don’t want is CCGs to emulate the worst of some PCTs where decisions were made remotely and then imposed top-down onto practices in a draconian way, preventing GPs from referring in a particular way – that’s not how CCGs should be behaving and constitutions should not be treading into those territories.’

However, he said the GPC had concerns about CCGs creating constitutions that were not in practices' best interests.

Dr Buckman added that CCGs were also standing up to pressure to merge, from PCTs and strategic health authorities. He said: ‘We’re encouraged to hear examples of GPs feeling empowered to say no when CCGs are forced into rapid clustering against their will, making decisions about commissioning support with 48 hours notice.

‘We hope all GPs will have the confidence to say no and resist inappropriate pressure to merge and buy services from a different place.’

DH clinical commissioning network lead for England Dr James Kingsland last week also said CCGs should stand up to pressure to merge if they believed their group was the best size and configuration to represent their patients.

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