GPs want guarantee they cannot be expelled from consortia

GPs want assurances they will not be expelled from consortia or lose their contracts when the profession takes over commissioning, a GP/NHS Alliance poll reveals.

Dr Dixon: GPs must see consortia as their friends
Dr Dixon: GPs must see consortia as their friends

The survey, of 262 GPs, found 65% do not think consortia should be able to expel practices for missing prescribing or referral targets.

A similar proportion (63%) say that practices should not lose their contracts if they are expelled from or not accepted into a consortium.

Just 19% backed plans for underperforming practices to be expelled and lose their contracts.

Conflicting visions of the relationship between consortia and their member practices have emerged during the White Paper consultation.

The GPC believes consortia should not hold GP contracts, and the NHS Alliance agrees, warning that the groups should be ‘true collectives, not local enforcers’.

The National Association of Primary Care (NAPC), however, has called for consortia to hold practice contracts to limit the bureaucracy of the central NHS Commissioning Board, and allow consortia more freedom to design local services.

Most GPs (60%) agree with the White Paper vision for the commissioning board to hold GP contracts. A quarter think GP consortia should be responsible, while the rest of respondents were unsure.

NHS Alliance chairman Dr Michael Dixon said it was important consortia do not hold practice contracts or become ‘another version of PCTs’.

‘GPs must see consortia as their friends. The Alliance feels very strongly about this,’ he said. ‘We don’t want a Lord of the Flies situation between GPs, sacking each other.’

GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul said it was ‘premature and alarmist’ to discuss expulsion from practices. ‘GPs have worked in collaborative arrangements before. A successful consortium will find other methods of helping practices to achieve standards,’ he said.

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