PCTs consulting GPs on key decisions

PCTs are starting to involve GPs in commissioning decisions as they prepare to hand over the reins in 2013, LMC leaders say.

Dr Lothian's PCT has been receptive to GP commissioning input (Photograph: Jason Heath Lancy)
Dr Lothian's PCT has been receptive to GP commissioning input (Photograph: Jason Heath Lancy)

But they warned that the level of consultation with GPs, and its effectiveness, is variable.

Dr John Canning, secretary of Cleveland LMC, said GP involvement in PCT decisions 'varies from place to place'.

But he said the PCTs in his area have involved GPs in decisions about the Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention (QIPP) agenda, as well as how to make the required 40 per cent reductions in management costs.

'We have to be involved in that,' he said. 'There is a risk we will inherit some of those responsibilities. We don't want to inherit management structures and things we can't afford.'

Dr Canning said local PCTs are also consulting with staff over management restructuring, and have invited the LMC to comment. 'Our input is being asked for,' he said. 'They genuinely want to know and want to talk to us.'

Meanwhile, Dr John Grenville, secretary of Derbyshire LMC, said the county's PCTs consulted the LMC about procedures it no longer wanted to commission.

'The PCTs in Derbyshire have always tried hard to involve GPs and the practice-based commissioning (PBC) consortia,' Dr Grenville said.

'But I think PCTs are now trying even harder to ensure some degree of GP input.'

But he pointed out that with several PBC groups in the area, the PCT struggled to act on GPs' advice if the groups expressed different views.

Dr Jane Lothian, secretary of Northumberland LMC said: 'GPs have always been fairly involved in various PCT commissioning activity.

'But because our PCT is having to make management cost savings means it has been very receptive to GP input.'

However, in other areas, particularly where PBC is not well advanced, GPs are yet to be involved in PCT decisions.

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