Councils look to take lead role from GPs

Local councils have been accused of 'jockeying for power' as PCTs' duties are handed over to GP commissioners.

Dr Jenner: councils seem to have 'mission creep' (Photograph: Mike Alsford)

The Local Government Group, representing local authorities, says councils can 'take the pressure off GPs' by taking a 'lead role' in commissioning services for mental health, dementia, HIV/AIDS, drug and alcohol dependency and long-term conditions.

In its response to the White Paper consultation, the group also says GPs should develop commissioning plans based on council needs assessments and have them signed off by council-led health and wellbeing boards.

The Local Government Groups says health and wellbeing boards should be statutory bodies, with council chief officers and GP commissioners sitting on them.

But NHS Alliance GMS/PMS lead Dr David Jenner said councils appeared to have 'mission creep' and should not be in control of long-term conditions.

'What is worrying is that before the consultation is finished we already have people jockeying for status and power,' he said.

'For certain services, it makes sense to commission jointly, but not long-term conditions.'

In the report, local authorities express concern that they will be underfunded and that ring-fencing money for public health will make it difficult to commission effective public services.

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