SHA will be first to offer GPs 'real' budgets to commission

The East of England strategic health authority (SHA) is to 'lead the country' in giving GPs cash budgets to commission services by next year.

The SHA hopes to be the first in the UK to hand over genuine budgets to practice-based commissioning (PBC) consortia from April next year.

A document from the SHA says pilots will help PCTs overcome certain issues that have held back real budgets in the past - such as what happens if GPs overspend and how much each PBC cluster receives.

PBC has had a limitied impact across England so far, and the Conservatives' have pledged to force GPs to take on responsibility for commissioning budgets should they win the election.

‘PCTs in the east of England have a greater appetite than many regions to pilot hard budgets,' the report says. 

The SHA says the strategy will help achieve the savings required within the NHS as funding growth slows and boost GPs' enthusiasm for PBC in the area.

‘Incentivising GPs through the correct risk and reward structures could improve referral rates and the quality of commissioning,' the report says.  

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