GPC 'open to talks' about GPs commissioning out-of-hours

The GPC will not oppose Conservative plans to hand the commissioning of out-of-hours and other NHS services to GPs.

Dr Buckman: giving GPs responsibility for commissioning ‘positive'
Dr Buckman: giving GPs responsibility for commissioning ‘positive'

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said he was ‘open to talks' after assurances from Mr Lansley that the bulk of the GMS contract was safe.

Meanwhile, as health policy begins to take shape under the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, Tory advisors suggested the Care Quality Commission (CQC) could be targeted in a bureaucracy and cost-cutting exercise.

Under current plans, practices will be forced to pay an annual fee to register with the CQC from April 2011.

Shifting the QOF to focus on outcomes by scrapping ‘unnecessary' registers is likely to be a GP contract negotiating priority, Tory advisers say.

Dr Buckman said that giving GPs responsibility for commissioning would be ‘positive' for GPs and patients.

‘We are open to talks. We don't know what it means and I'm not sure [Mr Lansley] knows what it means until we get a more refined idea of what GP commissioning might look like,' he said. ‘But we are not against the idea.'

Dr Buckman said he received an unsolicited call from the new health secretary after newspaper reports suggested Mr Lansley planned to ‘tear up' the GP contract and force GPs to work out-of-hours.

‘We've had lots of conversations about GMS but they have made no specific suggestions.

‘The only thing they have done is to call me and warn me that there will not be wholesale renegotiation. Which is a good sign that they want to make sure I know what is happening,' Dr Buckman said.

Dr Paul Charlson, a member of the Conservative party clinical advisory committee, said he expects commissioning responsibility to be ‘more of a voluntary thing' initially.

UK LMCs conferences have narrowly backed motions calling for GPs to take on commissioning of out-of-hours.

Editors' blog: What the NHS will be like in our new Con-Dem nation

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