New GP contract 'must extend federations and commissioning'

There must be a 'new and cost neutral' GP contract that encourages practices to federate and commission, according to acting NHS Confederation chief executive Nigel Edwards (pictured).

Opening the NHS Confederation in Liverpool, Mr Edwards said there were still questions over whether GPs would embrace their new role as commissioners and how the financial risks would be managed.

‘There are lots of great GPs who want to do this,’ he told delegates.  ‘But are there enough? Don’t the enthusiastic GPs want to be providers rather than commissioners?’

Mr Edwards went on to say more GP consortia should be given budgets by local authorities to help provide social care alongside healthcare, as has been successfully piloted in Torbay.

Launching the report Dealing with the Downturn: Using the evidence, Mr Edwards warned that policies such as ‘moving care closer to home’ will have disappointing results unless ‘skilfully managed and carried out at scale.’

The report warns that is a ‘myth’ that the NHS can generate £15-20bn of efficiency savings between now and 2014 without affecting front-line services.

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