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RCGP backs transparency charter for commissioning groups

The RCGP has supported calls for clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to sign up to a charter to maintain ‘open books' and to reject contracts with a commercial confidentiality clauses.

The statement has been drafted by doctors campaigning against the Government's health reforms, who are urging GPs and local campaigners to press their CCGs to adopt the principles.

The charter calls for CCGs to reserve the right to determine who they contract with, to refuse to allow Any Qualified Provider to be imposed on them, to operate ‘open book' policies, and to abandon commercial confidentiality clauses in contracts.

The charter has been developed by John Lister, director of the Health Emergency campaign group, and was backed by RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada who said it was consistent with what the RCGP has been calling for from new organisations.

The charter says: ‘This CCG will uphold the principle of "first do no harm": we will take no action and adopt no policy that might undermine our patients' continued access to existing local health services that they need, trust and rely upon.'

Dr Gerada said: ‘I do support the principles. One of the concerns is contracts will be all wrapped up in commercial law and not NHS law. I think CCGs should be very mindful of their commissioning decisions and not be tempted just to go for low cost.'

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