Practices will find it harder to federate once PCTs are axed, RCGP warns

GPs should set up as federations before PCTs are abolished if they are to gain the financial and strategic support they need to be successful, the RCGP has said.

Professor Field: many practices are already working in federations

The Primary Care Federations Toolkit was produced in partnership with the King’s Fund, The Nuffield Trust and Hempsons Solicitors. It aims to support existing federations as well as those practices looking to federate.

Guidance included in the toolkit stressed that support from PCTs is a ‘critical factor’ in whether practices federate successfully. It said that GP will find it harder to federate once PCTs are abolished as it will be more difficult to seek financial support.

‘Over the next few years, until PCTs are abolished in March 2013,  there is a window of opportunity for GPs to seek that support from their local PCT,' it said. ‘Once GP consortia are established it may be more difficult to seek financial support given the potential conflicts in interest. GPs will then need to generate the resources for central support internally or through working an external private sector provider.’

RCGP Chairman, Professor Steve Field said: ‘Many practices are already working in federations and many more are actively considering coming together in this way. In the meantime, the Government has published its White Paper, Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS and has set out its plans for General Practice Commissioning Consortia.

 ‘We believe that federations, as providers of services, can work well alongside Consortia, and that there are considerable opportunities for federations to maximise benefits for patients.’

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