Not all GPs will need to commission, government says

Not all GPs will need to be involved in commissioning, the government has announced as it seeks to overhaul its GP commissioning plans.

In its response to the NHS Future Forum’s recommendations, the government said that although commissioning will continue to carried out by groups of GPs practices, it will make a number of changes to the plans.

The government said no individual GP would need to get involved in commissioning work if they did not want to.

The ‘arbitrary’ deadline for GPs to take on full commissioning responsibility by April 2013 will also be scrapped, with the NHS Commissioning Board plugging the gap where consortia are not ready. However, the government said that all GP practices should join shadow consortia by April 2013.

The government has also said the label of ‘GP-led commissioning’ will be dropped in favour of ‘clinical commissioning groups’ to reflect plans for commissioning to be a multi-disciplinary activity.

Consortia must include at least one registered nurse and one secondary care specialist doctor, the government response has specified.

Two lay members must also be involved in the clinical commissioning groups, one of whom must take up the role of chairman or deputy chairman, it was revealed.

The government has also accepted key proposals of the NHS Future Forum that commissioning groups’ governing bodies will be required to meet in public and publish their minutes. Commissioners will also have to publish details of contracts with health service providers, it said.

The government has also announced that consortia boundaries must not normally cross those of local authorities, with any departure needing to be ‘clearly justified’. This is in line with a recommendation from the Future Forum report.

A number of emerging consortia will also have to undergo a re-branding exercise, after the government said that clinical commissioning groups will be expected to have a name that uses the NHS brand and has a clear link to their locality.

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