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GP Commissioning: Dispatches from the Frontline

The Independent reported me 'despondent' over the progress of the health bill, Dr Kingsland writes, but I'm still enthused by the reforms

I understand that in The Independent newspaper this week that I was observed and quoted at a recent conference to be a little despondent and disinterested in the progress of the Health and Social Care Bill.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I've been in general practice for 24 years and have consistently campaigned for this type of development, where clinicians (in particular general practitioners) and patients take control of managing NHS resources, and jointly design care provision based on their experience and mutual interaction - something the previous custodians of the NHS purse could never do.

So far our small CCG has procured a new provider for mild to moderate primary mental health conditions, from a different region – ‘fairly straight forward' my colleagues who commissioned this service tell me. We are reshaping community nursing services, enabled all practices to have practice based physiotherapy and starting to shift a significant number of outpatient contacts for long term conditions back into primary care – and not only within budget but with an efficiency gain consistent with the QIPP challenge.

Our Patient Representative Group this week independently negotiated a re-routing of a bus service to facilitate access to our new primary care centre. They are as enthused as us about the reforms.

If this is just the beginning we believe we really can reform our NHS. I am less interested in the restructuring of the organisations to support reform. It's a necessary task but of secondary importance to the delivery of remarkable new care pathways, which has always acted as my incentive.

I'm really not sure who The Independent were watching on stage - but the description doesn't sound like me.

Dr James Kingsland OBE is senior partner at the St Hilary Brow Group Practice, Wallasey, Merseyside, National Clinical Lead, NHS Clinical Commissioning Community, and president of the NAPC

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