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Sea of conflicts

Our GP blogger Dr Clive Henderson comes across 'quality assurance' concerns about a new ultrasound service set up in his practice

Our GP blogger Dr Clive Henderson comes across 'quality assurance' concerns about a new ultrasound service set up in his practice

I had a phone call last week from the hospital trust to complain about a new community ultrasound service that's been set up in our practice.

Apparently secondary care had quality ‘assurance' concerns about this new independent provider. There were also moans that where anomalies were found and further imaging requested, the trust did not have access to the orginal scans.

Our practice joined the providing partnership originally because we were frustrated by the lack of provision of innovative community services.

What's been revealed to us is how the complex world of choice and competition can produce fragmentation and adversarial relationships. Conflicts of interest , real or imagined , can abound.

I wonder if complaints about and between competing organisations are going to become commonplace.

And how can we be sure those complaints are for non commercial reasons ? Will this be a role of consortia, NHS commissioning boards, CQC or Monitor in the future ?

In previous GP meetings we've had discussions about whether commissioners could be part of provider organisations. In general it was thought they could, with reservations, because the decision about which provider to be chosen would be via a separate procurement panel.I had not fully considered the implications for contract monitoring and complaints.

In this instance I am sure integrity and professionalism are at work. However cynics may start to question future challenges. Exciting and sensible as GP commissioning is, things don't quite seem so simple as they once were.

Dr Clive Henderson is chair of Goole, Howden and West Wolds locality commissioning group

Dr Clive Henderson - will all quality assurance queries be made in good faith? Dr Clive Henderson

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