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CCGs could take responsibility for patient complaints against GPs

NHS England is reviewing whether CCGs could take on responsibility for handling patient complaints in a further move towards performance managing GPs through co-commissioning.

Julia Simon, NHS England’s head of commissioning development and co-commissioning programme director, told delegates at the Health + Care Show 2015 in London yesterday that performance management was being explored with legal teams.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said it would be ‘inappropriate’ for CCGs to take on performance management responsibilities, after a third of CCGs had expressed wishes to take on these powers when applying for co-commissioning last year.

But Ms Simon said that this was a possibility in the longer term.

She told delegates: ‘There is work on the way that complaints are handled… we are looking with policy teams and legal teams on how that transfer could be affected safely, whilst maintaining all the quality standards for patients.’

NHS England will also be conducting an audit of how CCGs are managing conflicts of interest.

Ms Simon added: ‘We’re doing a sample audit in September of ten CCGs to look at how this is really operating and whether we need to tweak the policy on this or otherwise look at how it’s implemented.’

NHS England will begin sharing evidence from Somerset CCG – which Pulse revealed last year had become the first region to drop the national QOF – on how areas can set up local quality schemes, Ms Simon told delegates.

The GPC opposed the introduction of primary care co-commissioning, with members at the LMCs conference 2014 declaring the inherent conflict of interest represented the ‘ultimate poison chalice’ for general practice.