White Paper Viewpoint

Writing exclusively for GP newspaper, DoH national clinical director of primary care Dr David Colin-Thomé says GPs are ready to lead NHS reform

The White Paper, Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS, heralds a new era of local decision- making, led by clinicians and patients, based on evidence and driven by a focus on improving clinical outcomes.

General practice will lead NHS reform, and rightly so.

To improve health outcomes, the NHS will need to do things differently and better. We must make every penny count and every penny saved will be reinvested.

GPs will be central to delivering on this. Who knows your patients, your communities and their health needs better than you? You are best placed to decide how resources should be allocated.

This is why we are handing responsibility for commissioning most healthcare services to groups of GP practices.

Some say that GPs are not ready, willing or able to take on this responsibility. I disagree. I know many GP consortia that are already commissioning services for their local communities and are doing an excellent job.

GPs will work together with the full range of clinicians and healthcare professionals to agree the best way to look after their communities. The NHS Commissioning Board will be there to support you.

Employing good managers will be crucial so GPs, with other clinicians, can focus on leading, not on micro-managing the detail. A huge part of that GP leadership is within practices.

Many GPs and other clinicians will be keen to commission, but others will want to focus on running their practices. Both those tasks are important given that population based general practice is the bedrock of the NHS.

Many myths surround how GP-led commissioning will work. Some fear that GPs’ personal earnings are at risk if their consortium overspends – this is not true. There is no hidden agenda. We are building the future on the existing success of general practice.

We will launch a public consultation on GP-led commissioning this week and I want your views.
This is a big challenge but also an opportunity for GPs to shape local healthcare and achieve the very best results for their patients.

 Click here to view health White Paper 2010 news and analysis

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