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BMA chair: CCGs risk becoming disconnected from most GPs

The BMA chair has warned the NHS could be heading towards a worst case scenario where CCGs were ‘disconnected’ from most GPs and were operating without grassroots support.

Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham last week, Dr Mark Porter warned CCGs were drawing up ‘irresponsible’ constitutions which leave GP practices accountable to the CCGs rather than the other way around.

He said this was making GPs disillusioned with clinical commissioning and that the worst case scenario was that in five years CCGs will be operated by an isolated group of GPs.

He said: ‘We are getting a lot of reports about GPs who are getting disillusioned because of this and are dropping out of engagement with CCGs.’

‘Should our fears be well founded, then we are on a path that could see these groups in five or ten years operating without the necessary involvement from all GPs within their area.

‘The worst case scenario is that by 2017 we see a series of groups that are operated by an enthusiastic minority, rather than by all GPs and are disconnected from and unaccountable to the majority of the working profession, and disheartened GPs operating an organisation which is struggling with its mission.’

However, Dr Johnny Marshall, a GP in Wendover, Bucks and interim partnership development director of NHS Clinical Commissioners, said he found  the level of engagement between GPs and CCGs was on an upward rather than downward trajectory.

He said: ‘If you are looking at the organisation process there are some areas where engagement isn’t happening. It takes time to build up those relationships so we would recognise that in some places it is not going as well as in others.

‘But most of what we hear is that that is an improving position in terms of engagement with commissioning groups – not a deteriorating position.’