Small GP consortia will not work, says former commissioning chief

GP consortia will not be successful unless they are as big as PCTs, according to former commissioning chief Mark Britnell (pictured).

The former DoH director of commissioning, now head of health at KPMG, said GP consortia should be ‘public-private joint ventures’ and would need to be large if they are to work effectively.

Although the White Paper has never specified how large GP consortia should be, experts estimate there will be between 500 and 600. ‘It won’t work if we create 500 cottage-sized commissioning bodies,' Mr Britnell told delegates at the Westminster Health Forum in London this week.

‘The most agile PCT chief executives should be thinking about aggregating – it isn’t possible for 152 organisations [PCTs] to be world-class, and it won’t work with 500.’

Mr Britnell left the DoH after developing World Class Commissioning, a set of competencies that measure how well trusts have purchased services.

GP consortia should be 'public-private joint ventures,' employing hospital consultants, he said. 

He denied that the scheme would ‘die’ as PCTs when PCTs are abolished in 2013. ‘I don’t think it will die. It will transfer into clinical commissioning, he said.

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