Councils better placed than GPs to run commissioning, says Burnham

GPs should surrender control of commissioning to local government because they lack a population-wide view and have potential conflicts of interest, according to shadow health secretary Andy Burnham.

Labour shadow health secretary Andy Burnham: councils can commission healthcare
Labour shadow health secretary Andy Burnham: councils can commission healthcare

Speaking at the Commissioning Show in east London on Wednesday, Mr Burnham explained his vision for whole-person care which integrated mental health, NHS and social care controlled by local government via health and wellbeing boards with CCGs in an advisory capacity.

Mr Burnham said: 'Commissioning is about meeting all of the population's needs. I think a lot of GPs don't see a population. They see a subset of it which walks through their doors on a regular basis. To be honest local government has a better understanding of all the needs of the whole population.'


He warned the potential conflicts of interest of those involved with healthcare commissioning healthcare could undermine public trust in GPs.

He backed integrated care work in Torbay, Devon, which had seen waits for occupational therapists cut. He did not challenge an audience member's assertion that by pooling budgets and increasing investment in what is now defined as adult social services would mean a cut to NHS funds.

  • Watch a video of Mr Burnham's 25-minute speech and question and answer session later this week on GP's sister site Inside Commissioning.

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