GPC hopeful of commissioning DES

GPs' new commissioning duties could be delivered using a Directed Enhanced Service (DES), according to the GPC.

Dr Vautrey: commissioning DES viable option
Dr Vautrey: commissioning DES viable option

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said a commissioning DES was a viable option as negotiations start on this year's contract.

The government has made it clear in the White Paper Liberating the NHS that it wishes to renegotiate the GP contract in order to make commissioning compulsory.

But Dr Vautrey said a DES would be an easy way to add commissioning to the GP contract without too much disruption, but that detailed negotiations were a long way off.

'The vast majority of practices sign up to all the DESs. But we are still a long way from any framework,' he said.

Dr Vautrey denied such a deal would lead to other income streams being stripped of cash to force GPs to take up the DES. Although enhanced services are voluntary, in 2008 practices faced five-figure losses if they did not sign up to the extended hours DES or similar LESs.

‘As with any DES, like choose and book or practice-based commissioning DESs, it would depend on whether GPs think it is appropriate for them and their patients or not,’ said Dr Vautrey.

Dr Vautrey assured GPs that the government's move to a single GP contract would not happen this year.

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