Commissioning plans give NI GPs more say

Commissioning organisations that take effect this month could give GPs in Northern Ireland a stronger role in commissioning than their counterparts in the rest of the UK, LMC leaders say.

Under the review of public administration in the country, all four existing health and social services boards are being scrapped from 1 April 2008, and seven local commissioning groups (LCGs) have been established in shadow form from 1 April 2007.

Four of these are chaired by GPs, and each group will have a number of sub-committees, called community commissioning associations (CCAs), which are built around groups of GP practices. Every GP practice will be represented on a CCA.

Dr George O’Neill, a member of Eastern LMC and the chairman of Belfast LCG, said: ‘This is locality commissioning, not practice-based commissioning.’

Groups should be allowed to direct commissioning on a wide scale. Other parts of the UK were  not as comprehensive, he said.

GPC Northern Ireland chairman Dr Brian Dunn urged GPs to get involved.

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