Editorial: PCT meddling puts White Paper reforms at risk

The consultation period on the White Paper Liberating the NHS draws to a close this month.

But GPs still face a lengthy wait for final guidance on the roles, responsibilities and, crucially, the funding of commissioning consortia.

GP newspaper reports this week that in some areas, plans for consortia are starting to take shape, as GPs prepare to assume a reinforced role at the heart of a re-shaped NHS. These early efforts to act on the White Paper reforms reflect the profession's willingness to engage with health secretary Andrew Lansley's plans.

But in the period of limbo as PCTs are wound up and consortia have yet to fully evolve, GP leaders must be vigilant to ensure this goodwill is not undermined.

PCT Network director David Stout reminds GP optimists this week that there is unlikely to be any new money in the system to incentivise commissioning.

QOF could be raided to encourage GPs to get on board, in addition to the chunk of existing funding that will be top sliced to pay a 'quality premium' to successful consortia.

Reports this week that some PCTs have sought to divert extended hours cash - a block of funding GPs should be guaranteed through the GMS contract - to fund the establishment of consortia are alarming.

LMCs must be on their guard to prevent cash-strapped PCT managers with months left in their jobs stripping what they can from GP pay to help hit their savings targets.

The DoH has given a laudable commitment to allow consortia to define locally much of their structure and how they operate.

But reports suggest a handful of PCTs are attempting to subvert these freedoms, by seeking to appoint the GPs who will lead consortia, and by pushing practices into groupings against their will.

Ultimately, the reform plans depend on GP support. Unless the abuses of GPs' income streams and freedom to shape consortia stop, the legacy Mr Lansley hopes to leave may unravel.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Viewpoint: More trust and less red tape must define post-COVID GP world, says RCGP chair

Viewpoint: More trust and less red tape must define post-COVID GP world, says RCGP chair

A high-trust approach to regulating GPs has paid dividends during the COVID-19 pandemic,...

How our practice is supporting staff wellbeing during the pandemic

How our practice is supporting staff wellbeing during the pandemic

Dr Vasu Siva explains the steps her practice has taken to support staff to look after...

GPs to contact all children on shielding lists this summer

GPs to contact all children on shielding lists this summer

GP practices will be asked to contact thousands of children on shielding lists over...

Fever in adults - red flag symptoms

Fever in adults - red flag symptoms

Pyrexia in adults has a wide range of differential diagnoses. Dr Pipin Singh provides...

GMC to restart fitness to practise cases and PLAB tests within weeks

GMC to restart fitness to practise cases and PLAB tests within weeks

Fitness to practise cases paused during the coronavirus pandemic will restart this...

NHS England confirms plan to add practice managers to £20,000 golden hello scheme

NHS England confirms plan to add practice managers to £20,000 golden hello scheme

NHS England hopes to extend the £20,000 golden hello scheme for first-time partners...