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Commissioning group mergers essential to protect patients, says Gerada

RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada has warned GP commissioning leaders will jeopardise patient care if they set up groups which are too small, after clinical commissioning groups vowed to snub calls to merge to cover at least a million patients.

Ten CCG leaders interviewed by Pulse unanimously rejected the advice from the RCGP and GPC last month, claiming mergers would destroy localised commissioning, disengage GPs and not prove cost effective.

Seven said they had no current plans to merge at all, while three have already merged or plan to merge to cover up to 300,000 patients but do not plan to merge again.  

Dr Stewart Findlay, chair of Durham Dales CCG, said of the RCGP advice: ‘I think they've completely lost the plot. We know large PCTs didn't work - if we make them even larger, what evidence is there they will be made even better?'

But Dr Gerada said ‘I don't think GPs understand there will be no safety net. It's not for me to dictate to them, it's for me to make things safe for patients. If it's going to be unsafe because the CCG is too small to manage its financial risk then patients are going to suffer.'

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