Small GP consortia must share risk with neighbours

The size of consortia will not be important as long as risk is shared among neighbouring groups, a new GP commissioning council has concluded.

In its first meeting this week, the NHS Alliance’s ‘Commissioning Federation Council’ discussed how best to manage the transition from PCT to GP commissioning.

Dr Amit Bhargava, who chairs the group, said consortia covering as few as 40,000 patients could function if they share risk with neighbouring groups, but a population of 100,000 was ‘more manageable’.

‘There was a lot of talk about size. The size is important but not as important as how you stratify risk. By collaborating with other consortia you can stratify risk so smaller consortia can function.’

Dr Bhargava said the council felt consortia must be ‘leaner [organisations] than we have ever seen before’, if GP-led commissioning is to get off the ground and start making efficiencies.

‘Learning networks’ will be crucial to developing consortia and to manage the transition from PCT commissioning to GP-led commissioning, said Dr Bhargava.

The federation’s council will meet around four times a year and work with influential DoH figures such as England's national director for improvement and efficiency Jim Easton and NHS medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh.

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