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CCGs given clean bill of health for GP engagement, despite LMC concerns

Exclusive: CCGs have been given an almost complete clean bill of health in their engagement with member practices, despite claims from LMCs that they have a way to go to ensure shared values with their member practices.

A Pulse analysis reveals that the NHS Commissioning Board gave 204 of the 211 CCGs across England a perfect record for their engagement with GP practices, following its final wave of authorisation on Thursday.

However, LMC leaders have warned that the results do not give the full picture, with engagement lacking in some areas as some practices are face ‘unnacceptable’ obligations in constitutions and a lack of shared values with GPs.

The NHS Commissioning Board set out criteria for the required ‘engagement from constituent practices’, including that the constitution had been signed off by member practices, practices were involved in decision-making processes and there were safeguards for managing potential conflicts of interest.

Of the seven given black marks on GP engagement, only three – including NHS Basildon & Brentwood CCG and NHS Thurrock CCG, who both had practices allocated to them against the practices’ wishes - have been given conditions above advice being made available. This compares with 118 CCGs who have been given more serious conditions regarding their financial plans.

Dr Robert Morley, chair of Birmingham LMC, said: ‘Of course they have “engaged” with their practices, as every practice has to be a CCG member, and some CCGs I’m sure have done a good job of this, but others far less well.

‘When I look at some of the pronouncements coming from certain CCG leaders across the country, and some of the unacceptable obligations they are trying to put on practices, particularly in their constitutions, which we now know are to be legally binding documents, it makes me shudder.’

Dr Andrew Mimnagh, chair of Sefton LMC, said CCGs have met targets, but this does not mean their practices are fully engaged.

He said: ‘It depends on what level you define engagement. It is fair to say that until now everyone has been turning up to find out what is happening but that is not quite the same as saying there is a universal, permeating shared value.

‘Do I think they have reached the targets they have set? Yes, I would be reasonably assured. But that is not saying they got 100% GP engagement.’

Pulse Live: 30 April - 1 May, Birmingham

Find out what commissioning means for you and your practice at Pulse Live, our new two-day annual conference for GPs, practice managers and primary care managers.

Pulse Live offers practical advice on key clinical and practice business topics, as well as an opportunity to debate the future of the profession, and a top range of speakers includes NICE chair designate Professor David Haslam, GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey and the Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell MP, chair of the House of Commons health committee.

To find out more and book your place, please click here.