Blaming GPs for A&E pressure 'threatens future of CCGs'

CCGs are at risk from GP workload pressure and the 'fire-storm' being whipped up over out-of-hours provision, a commissioning leader has warned.

Dr Steve Kell: pressure on GPs places commissioning role at risk (photo: Alex Deverill)
Dr Steve Kell: pressure on GPs places commissioning role at risk (photo: Alex Deverill)

NHS Clinical Commissioners’ leadership group co-chair and Bassetlaw CCG chair Dr Steve Kell, said GPs across the country were ready to buckle under the strain, with practices at breaking point.

‘There is little doubt that a fire-storm has being whipped up over what is happening in A&E departments, with primary care provision, the GP contract and out-of-hours care being dragged into the mix,' he said.

'NHS Clinical Commissioners recognises that the morale of GPs is fundamental to how CCGs can operate. After all, if GPs are feeling squashed by their workload they are going to be far less able and willing to then engage on top of that with the commissioning agenda.’

Dr Kell said the there was no one overarching issue causing the problems. ‘A one-size fits all top-down imposed solution is bound to fail,' he said.

‘CCGs are best placed to lead on developing local solutions for local circumstances. However we do believe the solutions for the current problems have to be ones for the system as a whole.’

He called on commissioners and providers to work together to find solutions which can be implemented by CCGs and local area teams. ‘If CCGs develop solutions that work for patients we will be better placed to support GP colleagues and ensure that the importance and relevance of the CCG is reinforced to our members,’ Dr Kell added.

Essex LMC chief executive Dr Brian Balmer said that if CCGs had been allowed to do what that had originally been intended to do they could solve a lot of the problems faced by GPs and practices. ‘But I’m not yet sure they will be allowed,' he added.

Dr Balmer said the secretary of state had yet to learn ‘the art of sitting on his hands and letting a brand new system test itself and see if it works’.

Jeremy Hunt would do well to listen to listen to GPs’ concerns at LMC conference later this week, he said.

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