GP leaders accept the end of lone practices (UK)

Leadership in Health Services

ISSN: 1751-1879

Article publication date: 5 October 2010




Lamb-White, J. (2010), "GP leaders accept the end of lone practices (UK)", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 23 No. 4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

GP leaders accept the end of lone practices (UK)

Article Type: News and views From: Leadership in Health Services, Volume 23, Issue 4

Keywords GP commissioning, PCT commissioning, Out-of-hours healthcare, Patient choice

General practice (GP) negotiators expect every practice in the country to join a federation and help manage swathes of the National Health Service (NHS) budget after throwing their weight behind the government’s planned overhaul of GP commissioning.

Practices could be asked to form networks with “like-minded” colleagues in other parts of the country, under Department of Health plans, but there remains heated debate over the financial penalties for GPs who do not actively commission.

The General Practice Committee (GPC) of the British Medical Association said that it supported plans for the vast majority of primary care trust commissioning to transfer to practice groupings, with last week’s Local Medical Committee (LMC) conference voting for GPs to take a “central role” in organising out-of-hours care.

However, LMCs rejected plans, under discussion by the Department of Health, for a “radical” new GP pay model that would provide lucrative incentives to take on commissioning, but heavily penalize practices that refused to do so.

Mr Lansley is due to unveil his plans in a health bill that could be published as early as next week, with practice-based commissioning set to be replaced by a new scheme simply called GP commissioning.

GPC Chairman, Laurence Buckman, said he thought that all GPs would have to work under a federated system, also referred to as a polysystem, but with different levels of commissioning responsibility.

With the government preparing to hand GPs real budgets, LMC representatives voted that the move should “always be voluntary” and “deplored” any future connection to GPs’ income or contractual status.

Professor Chris Ham, Chief Executive of the King’s Fund, said the government was considering two options: one that would see GPs group together geographically and another in which GPs would form networks with like-minded colleagues across the country. His hunch was that the government would want to provide more patient choice and would not want to be seen to support local monopolies, so it might go for groups of like-minded GPs, which would mean it would be keen to break down practice boundaries.

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