In a debate on whether CCGs are being set up for success at the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) conference in Birmingham on Wednesday, Professor Paul Corrigan said CCGs are likely to ‘struggle’ with the management cost envelope.
He said: ‘There is something about management that if you manage the status quo you can do that quite easily and then you go out of business.
‘If you want to manage something innovatively you need better skills, which cost more. I'm worried that you are being encouraged to go for mediocrity when you need something startling to succeed.'
Nigel Edwards, senior research fellow at the King’s Fund, agreed it will be 'challenging' and will force CCGs to work in federations.
He said: ‘My suspicion is that this management allowance has been set up as a pressure to get people to work together more.'
Meanwhile, Mr Edwards warned that CCGs could find it quite hard to procure commissioning support they need.
‘Every part of the commissioning support you are going to buy will be over the public procurement limit and therefore involve a whole lot of bureaucracy,' he said.
Mr Corrigan also suggested that the government will encourage CCGs to take on ex-PCT staff to avoid paying out redundacy packages.
He said: ‘It seems to me that it is really important that you define what you want and get what you want [with commissioning support].
‘I don’t think it is possible for the government to force you to do what it wants you to do [and use PCT cluster commissioning support post 2013], but you may end up getting it. Unless you know exactly what you want, you will end up taking the PCT support offer.’