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GP commissioners allowed to set their own pay and benefits

Clinical commissioning group board members will be able to set their own pay and pensions under new amendments to the health bill published by the Government this week.

Among more than 1,000 changes to the Health and Social Care Bill, to be voted on in the House of Commons next week, a section says that senior GPs, among others on the board of a CCG, will be able to ‘make arrangements' for extra payments, expenses and pensions.

Just four days before a crucial parliamentary vote that will send the legislation to the House of Lords, the Department of Health has published a tranche of amendments to the health bill that makes a huge number of changes, although more than 700 merely change the text from ‘commissioning consortia' to ‘clinical commissioning groups'.

Of the most significant changes made is the section dealing with the renumeration of CCG governing bodies.

The Department of Health document says: ‘A clinical commissioning group may pay members of its governing body such remuneration and travelling or other allowances as it considers appropriate.'

‘A clinical commissioning group may, for or in respect of such members of its governing body as it may determine, make arrangements for providing pensions, allowances or gratuities. Such arrangements may include the establishment and administration, by the clinical commissioning group or otherwise, of one or more pension schemes.'

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey told Pulse that he welcomed the move as GPs taking on these roles would need the money to pay locums to fill in for them.

Dr Vautrey said: ‘It will be essential for CCGs to properly remunerate GPs who spend time working for them. No GP will be taking on these roles for the money, but in order to get GPs of the necessary skills and experience neither GPs nor their practice should lose out as a result of giving time to CCG management and practices will have to pay for locums to provide backfill.  These costs vary around the country.'

Other amendments instruct Health and Wellbeing Boards to ‘encourage clinical commissioning groups to enter into arrangements with local authorities' to ensure that health services are ‘provided in an integrated way'.

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