Consortia should hold practices' GP contracts, NAPC says

GP consortia, rather than the NHS commissioning board, should hold practices' GP contracts, the NAPC has said.

Dr Marshall: NHS needs changes

In its response to the White Paper ‘Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS’, the NAPC questioned how a lean NHS Commissioning Board could fulfil its role of holding the primary care contracts for general practice.

The response said: ‘In order to performance manage general practice against these contracts the NHS Commissioning Board would require significant data flows on practice performance, knowledge of variation in local health need and even individual practitioners.

‘As the lean organisation it is intended to be it would be difficult to see how the NHS Commissioning Board could fulfil this role.’

It suggested that GP commissioning consortia should hold the GP contracts of its constituent practices ‘as a default position’ and contracts should only be held by the NHS Commissioning Board when there has been a failure to ‘discharge the contractual responsibility appropriately.’

The response also said the services which GP consortia will be responsible for commissioning locally should be regularly reviewed and changed as appropriate.

It also called for the experience of non-NHS organisations in commissioning processes should be harnessed at the earliest opportunity by GP consortia.

It added: ‘We should examine what other sectors (public, private and third sector) from all parts of the world have to offer, based on value added, and incorporate the very best of that alongside our NHS values in creating GP commissioning consortia that have the capability, capacity and support to be effective.’

Meanwhile, the response outlined that while the plans for NHS reforms are ‘challenging’, the NHS’  ‘talented workforce’ will ensure the changes deliver the best patient outcomes.

NAPC chairman Dr Johnny Marshall said: ‘The NHS is changing and had to change if it is to continue to offer a free, comprehensive service to all. The White Paper provides and appropriate vehicle to deliver the much need and welcome changes.’

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