CCGs urged to back GP-led services and avoid tendering

More CCGs should copy a West Midlands group that plans to award enhanced services worth more than £500,000 to GPs without putting them out to tender, the GPC has said.

Wyre Forest CCG chief officer Simon Hairsnape: conflict of interest avoided
Wyre Forest CCG chief officer Simon Hairsnape: conflict of interest avoided

CCGs should not let conflict of interest fears stop them commissioning enhanced services from practices, GP leaders have warned.

NHS Wyre Forest CCG has decided not to put most of its enhanced services out to tender and instead will commission them directly from GP practices.

Anticoagulation services worth £221,000, diabetes care worth £167,000 and intermediate care worth £166,000 are all set to be awarded to GPs.

The CCG said the decision was ‘fully in line with the highest standards of probity’.

Four board members – three GPs and one practice manager – left the meeting while the decision was made to avert conflict of interest concerns.

GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said more CCGs should have the confidence not to put enhanced services out to tender if practices are clearly best placed to deliver them.

‘We need to dispel the myth that all enhanced services need to be put out to tender,’ he said.

‘Often, a GP practice will be the most logical provider to offer enhanced services.’

In such cases, CCGs must ensure they have probity arrangements to allow such decisions to be made, he said.

Last month a leading health solicitor warned that competition regulations were frightening CCGs into ruling out commissioning services from GP providers.

Growing numbers of GP practices are forming companies to improve their chances of winning contracts.

Wyre Forest CCG chief officer Simon Hairsnape said the group was well aware of potential conflicts of interest for GP and practice manager board members.

‘The CCG has a comprehensive policy for the management of interests and this was applied,’ he told GP.

‘The recommendation to award some contracts to practices without competition was therefore fully in line with the highest standards of probity and our CCG values of putting patients at the heart of what we do.

‘Contracts have not of course been awarded at this point in time; the intention is to award in due course.’

CCGs are required to review the enhanced services they inherited from PCTs before April 2014.

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