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Buckman: CCGs are not ‘our creatures’

GPs are fed up with being told that CCGs are 'our creatures', with experience to date suggesting the NHS reforms are being controlled by the Government and senior managers, the GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman has claimed.

In his speech to the Annual Representatives Conference in Bournemouth today, Dr Buckman said the NHS reforms were not being driven by GPs, but from 'top of the NHS and the Government'.

He told assembled delegates: 'GPs are fed up with being told that the post-Act NHS is theirs to run. We keep on being told that CCGs are our creatures and not just another version of the PCTs they replace, yet the experience on the ground does not bear that out.'

'Even before it becomes law, changes were being made to our NHS that have fragmented care and allowed private organisations to pick off the best bits. GPs do not support care delivered by a multitude of providers competing with each other for ever shrinking funding.

He added: 'GPs are now being threatened with time-limited contracts. Furthermore, funding for patients will be top-sliced to pay for so-called quality rewards - paying GPs to cut corners on services on cost grounds. We will not agree to this unethical nonsense.'

But although he lamented the current state of play on the ground, Dr Buckman said it was imperative that GPs stayed involved in CCGs, echoing the view expressed in an earlier vote, in which doctors voted against calls to ballot GPs on withdrawing from CCGs in protest at the Government's NHS reforms.

Dr Buckman said: 'We have to try and deter the potential for harm within CCGs whilst ensuring that GPs are democratically involved in CCGs. That is the very reason why all GPs must be able to elect the boards of CCGs. Ordinary GPs must be there. GPs must remain omnipresent if we are to influence the outcome of decisions taken by our colleagues.'

The GPC chair also touched on the ongoing threats to GPs' contract funding, CQC registration, revalidation, and repeated his warning issued at last month's LMC conference that GPs may walk away from the profession due to the pressures being placed upon their health and livelihoods. He acknowledged these were 'tough times' for GPs, but said: 'This week is our opportunity to be heard'.