GPs warn Lansley that consortia plans are unworkable

GPs have warned health secretary Andrew Lansley that plans to force consortia to appoint nurse and hospital doctor board members from outside their local area are unworkable.

Mr Lansley: it would be down to commissioning groups to find the additional board members.
Mr Lansley: it would be down to commissioning groups to find the additional board members.

Speaking at a conference in London on Wednesday, Mr Lansley said consortia would need ‘to include at least one registered nurse and one secondary care specialist doctor’.

But to avoid any conflict of interest, neither of these health professionals should be employed by a local care provider, he told the Commissioning Show event.

But Dr Roger Pinnock, chairman of the Ashford Locality Commissioning Group, said: ‘We’re in East Kent, we are effectively a peninsula. Where on earth is this consultant going to come from?’

Dr Chris Trzcinski, chairman of North and West Leicestershire consortia said: 'I don't think you've really given us an answer that we can work with. People that want to be involved are the local consultants. You will end up with people who aren't directly involved in the local health service. I think you really need to rethink that one more carefully.’

Mr Lansley said it would be down to commissioning groups to find the additional board members.

‘You have to find somebody, it will be your choice to determine how to appoint somebody, who doesn’t in your view represent a conflict of interest,’ Mr Lansley said.

‘There may be senior clinicians in local health providers who meet those criteria and it will be over to you to go to the NHS Commissioning Board and say: "They don’t constitute a conflict of interest".’

Mr Lansley suggested commissioning groups look to specialists working in tertiary care, specialists living in the local area but working elsewhere or who had recently retired.

The change was made at the request of hospital doctors, who felt they would be excluded from commissioning, Mr Lansley said.

‘It was put very strongly that your consultant colleagues want to be involved in commissioning.’

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