NHS leadership council 'sidelines' primary care

The new NHS Leadership Council (NLC) has sidelined primary care because acute care bosses have a better 'record of leadership', the DoH has said.

The council has been set up to strengthen management and leadership across the NHS.

But although more than 90 per cent of NHS services take place in primary care, less than a tenth of the council's membership comes from the sector.

Just two of 25 of its 'core' members have a primary care background, and both are from PCT management. The only GP involved is RCGP chairman Professor Steve Field, who is among a second-tier of 14 'fellows'.

By contrast, foundation trust bosses provide eight core members, and SHAs four.

NHS Alliance PBC lead Dr David Jenner said the council's composition seemed 'biased towards secondary care'.

'To have no primary care clinician core member, and just one as a fellow, suggests there is little central perception of the value of primary care,' he said.

A DoH spokesman said that the NLC was recruited through an open process. 'We have appointed people with a proven record of leadership who will be able to deliver real improvements,' he said.

Michael Sobanja, chief executive of the NHS Alliance, said that the DoH response 'could be read to mean there aren't proven leaders in primary care'. 'That is not the case,' he added.

He called for the DoH to reconsider the NLC's make up.

jonn.elledge@haymarket.com

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