GP commissioners should leave clinical pathway design to 'experts'

GP commissioners should just focus on setting outcomes for providers and leave the designing of clinical pathways and procurement to 'experts', a provider of NHS property and pharmacy services has said.

At the NHS Confederation’s annual conference in Manchester on Wednesday, Bart Johnson, chief executive officer at Assura Medical, said procurement of providers and services needs to be done by ‘people who are skilled to do it’.

He said this could see ex-PCT and SHA staff sitting within clinical commissioning groups which are tasked with procurement activities. He added that asking other professionals to select a provider would mean the conflict of interest issues associated with commissioning would  ‘disappear’.

Mr Johnson said clinical commissioners should focus instead on specifying the required outcomes for a service and ensure providers deliver against these.

He said: ‘I have seen over the last few years many practice-based commissioning groups sitting down and designing a lot of care pathways that are completely unfeasible in reality. They look great on paper but they are undeliverable.

‘Providers do care pathways, not commissioners. It is a waste of money and time. Commissioners are about outcomes and making sure they get them.’

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