BMA chairman rejects GP commissioning plans

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

Dr Meldrum: commissioning should operate as a collaborative process
Dr Meldrum: commissioning should operate as a collaborative process

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

His comments come less than a week after RCGP chairman Dr Steve Field said GPs should take on 24-hour commissioning responsibility.

‘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 seemed a ‘crude' method of bringing people to the table where relationships between NHS organisations were poor, Dr Meldrum said.

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.

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