GPs will outsource commissioning to external organisations, says report

Some GPs will want to outsource full responsibility for commissioning to external organisations when the government hands GPs real budgets, according to a think-tank report.

The King’s Fund report said devolving commissioning responsibility to GP consortia is likely to amplify existing shortages of commissioning skills and managerial expertise in the NHS.

The report said consortia will ‘undoubtedly’ need a significant amount of support from PCTs or other organisations and said this may lead to consortia entering into longer-term partnerships with external support agencies.

The report, 'Building high-quality commissioning: what role can external organisations play?', said it is important that GP commissioners learn from the experience of using external support in PCTs.

It said satisfaction among those PCTs who have used external support for commissioning are ‘reasonably high’, but outlined that it has not always been used effectively by PCTs.

It said providers of external support can add most value when they are used to help commissioners develop a long-term, strategic vision of how their organisation should function, and they bring something new – by introducing new skills, tools and processes or by supporting transformational change in terms of organisational structure and culture.

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