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GP leaders warn against pressure to merge

By Susan McNulty

Commissioning leaders have warned GP consortiums to resist pressure from PCTs to hurry into mergers with other commissioning groups.

The warning came as reports emerged of PCTs seeing the white paper as an opportunity to have single city or PCT-wide consortiums.

One commissioning manager told Practical Commissioning their PCT chief executive saw the white paper as the opportunity to finally create a city-wide consortium rather than deal with a number of groups – and had already called them to a meeting to discuss this as the way forward.

PBC clinical network lead Dr James Kingsland said such thinking by PCTs was in their culture as the most straightforward way to manage healthcare.

Dr Donal Hynes, co-vice chair of the NHS Alliance, said: ‘The white paper seems to suggest 100,000 is a reasonable figure in terms of risk.'

‘I would say that's too high for some decisions such as day-to-day prescribing and too low for complex commissioning decisions. It's about how you co-operate in terms of risk sharing.'

NAPC chair Dr Johnny Marshall said he too had heard examples of commissioning consortiums coming under pressure to merge.

‘That behaviour is completely inconsistent with the direction of travel. It should be determined by practices, not imposed or coerced from PCTs.'

‘Practices should be sitting down with a blank piece of paper in partnership with the PCTs.'

Dr Johnny Marshall: consortium sizes should not be imposed by PCTs Dr Johnny Marshall: consortium sizes should not be imposed by PCTs