BMA chairman hits out at GP commissioning plans

GPs should not be handed full responsibility for commissioning, the head of the BMA has told MPs.

Dr Meldrum: PBC a 'misnomer'
Dr Meldrum: PBC a 'misnomer'

At a health select committee evidence session on commissioning last week, BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum appeared to reject Conservative plans to make GPs responsible for commissioning 24-hour care for their patients.

'I don't think putting all the power in the hands of GPs is the right thing,' he told MPs.

Commissioning should operate as a collaborative process between NHS organisations, including GPs, he argued.

Giving commissioners full control of budgets was a 'crude' method of bringing people to the table that should only be used when relationships between NHS organisations were poor, he added.

Dr Meldrum said that commissioning was most effective in parts of the country where NHS organisations had ignored the 'purchaser-provider split' currently operating in the English health service.

He pointed out that in Scotland, Wales and New Zealand, this separation had been abandoned in favour of a more collaborative system.

Dr Meldrum added that practice-based commissioning (PBC) was a 'misnomer' because practices were too small a base to commission from.

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