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GP board members gagged under proposed CCG constitution

GPs on commissioning group boards should be blocked from speaking to the press unless authorised to do so by the board, according to a draft constitution proposed by Londonwide LMCs.

The clinical commissioning group (CCG) model constitution was produced by Londonwide LMCs as a ‘robust framework' for London's CCGs to follow in drafting their own constitution. CCGs nationwide, the Department of Health dictates, must all adopt a constitution as part of their authorisation process.

The draft constitution cracks down on leaks to the press by disallowing any CCG members from talking to the press ‘without the prior written consent of the board'.

The document says: ‘No members shall make or permit or authorise the making of any press releases or other public statement or disclosure concerning the clinical consulting group or any members.'

The document also suggests that GPs that miss five consecutive board meetings should be kicked off the board, saying members of a CCG board should ‘vacate their office' if ‘he shall for a period of five consecutive meetings of the board have been absent and shall at the discretion of the board be vacated from his office'.

The Londonwide LMCs' model also proposes that if board members do not disclose any conflicts of interest, this ‘may result in the disqualification of that member'. All CCG board or subcommittee members must declare ‘the nature and extent' of any conflicts of interest within 28 days of their appointment or ‘as soon as the conflict of interest becomes apparent'.

Members must also declare their conflict of interest at the beginning of each relevant meeting and may be barred from ‘discussing on any matters related to such conflict of interest'.

The constitution also sets out to ‘ensure that members of the board are informed in writing or covering email 10 days before any meeting of the board'. This comes amid concerns raised by former Labour health advisor Paul Corrigan who, in his blog, claimed some GPs at CCGs had been told to attend meetings ‘at eight hours notice'.

Chief executive of Londonwide LMCs, Dr Michelle Drage, said: ‘Londonwide LMCs has developed a model constitution at the request of the Londonwide GP Commissioning Council, as member CCGs had identified the importance of sound governance and decision-making processes, as part of their development and progress towards authorisation.'

‘Draft guidance from the Department of Health regarding CCG governance confirms that CCGs will be expected to adopt a constitution as part of the authorisation process, and our recently published model provides a robust framework.'

Click here to read the full document.