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GPs could hand care pathways to charities

By Alisdair Stirling

Exclusive: GPs could opt to hand over commissioning of care pathways for entire diseases to charities under proposals drawn up in response to the white paper.

Pulse has learned that at least one major charity has already held preliminary discussions with the Department of Health about taking on a commissioning role. It is understood the DH is sympathetic to the idea in principle, although it would be GPs' choice whether or not to enter into such commissioning partnerships.

A second charity is to submit proposals under which it would greatly extend its role as a provider of care by competing with the NHS and the private sector for the custom of GP commissioners.

The proposals, described by GPs as ‘completely novel' and ‘a big change', are to be included in responses to the DH's consultation on the white paper, which closes on 11 October.

The Stroke Association said it had been in discussions with the DH: ‘Taking a formal role in commissioning might be the best way for us to ensure good care continues. There are lots of models of care we'd like to see extended. Potentially we could advise on broader commissioning of stroke services along the entire pathway.'

Dame Helena Shovelton, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said its consultation response would be recommending ‘the third sector is considered by GP commissioners as key providers of care'.

‘BLF Services is already working with the NHS on campaigns to encourage early diagnosis of lung conditions and self-management plans,' she said.

Dr Neil Munro, a GP in Claygate, Surrey, said there was ‘great potential' to remodel care pathways, but that the proposals would require major change in the way charities worked: ‘Charities wouldn't be where I'd look first. They'd need to employ lots of specialists and change the way they operate completely.'

Commissioning of stroke services is one of the areas charities could take control of Commissioning of stroke services is one of the areas charities could take control of

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