GP consortia should commission primary care services, MPs say

GP consortia should be responsible for commissioning primary care services as well as secondary care, MPs have recommended.

The committee chaired by Mr Dorrell said GP consortia should commission the ‘full range’ of primary care (Photograph: Richard Gardner/Rex Features)
The committee chaired by Mr Dorrell said GP consortia should commission the ‘full range’ of primary care (Photograph: Richard Gardner/Rex Features)
A House of Commons health select committee report on GP commissioning called for a re-think on major parts of the government’s NHS reforms.

The committee chaired by Conservative former health secretary Stephen Dorrell, said separating primary and secondary care commissioning could cause ‘significant harm’.

It said GP consortia should be responsible for commissioning the ‘full range’ of primary care, including general practice.

Most consortia board members should be GPs, but other health professionals must also be represented, it said, and GP consortia should be re-branded as ‘NHS Commissioning Authorities’.

It said nurses, secondary care doctors, a public health and social care professional, and a member nominated by the local authority should be represented on consortia boards, and this should be outlined in statutory governance arrangements.

The committee stopped short of calling for patients groups to be represented as it said this would make boards ‘unmanageably large’. But it said board meetings should be held in public and their papers available to the public.

PCT clusters should become outposts of the NHS Commissioning Board in 2013, the committee recommended, with their resources directed towards the authorisation, assurance and support of consortia.

It said plans for Health and Wellbeing Boards should be scrapped. ‘The committee has considered these proposals and believes they are unnecessarily bureaucratic,’ it said.

It urged consortia to reflect local social care boundaries to encourage closer working between health and social care.

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