CCGs failing to convince GPs about reforms, DH adviser admits

Commissioners are failing to convince grassroots GPs to back the government's NHS reforms, an adviser who keeps DH officials up to date with the 'mood music' among clinicians has admitted.

Pollster Edna Robinson: grassroots GPs not won over by reforms
Pollster Edna Robinson: grassroots GPs not won over by reforms

For the last 18 months, DH commissioning adviser Edna Robinson has produced a report every six weeks for NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson based on feedback from a database of 'several thousand individual clinicians'.

'Soft intelligence' from medical royal colleges also feeds into the reports, she told a recent Westminster Health Forum event.

Although her latest report was 'the most positive for quite some time', and showed a 'definite lift in mood', she warned that grassroots GPs remain to be convinced about NHS reform.

Commissioning GPs are in a ‘good place’ about their roles, but frontline GPs want to know that the 'commissioning agenda' is not just about money and targets but about driving up the quality of services, Ms Robinson said.

‘The politicians have made a very strong connect with the GP leaders over the last 18 months and I think they have worked very, very hard to get GPs to be in a good place about GP commissioning - the leaders that is,' she said. 'I am not so sure about the followers. I think there is still a lot of work to do with frontline GPs and others.'

She told GP that the challenge facing politicians and CCGs in getting frontline GPs involved is to make the commissioning agenda relevant to them, by helping them understand it was about more than just signing contracts.

‘I think GPs genuinely see themselves as patient advocates and I agree that they are, and therefore it needs to be relevant in terms of them being able to drive up quality and improve access to services. It is not about money and targets for most GPs,' she said.

'This last report which I am just writing at the moment is the most positive for quite a long time, so there is a definite lift in mood.'

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