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GP quits CCG role over competition regulations row

A leading GP has stood down from his role on his local CCG because of fears over the Section 75 competition regulations.

Dr Grant Ingrams, who is a former chair of GPC West Midlands, told Pulse he had left his position as IT lead on Coventry and Rugby CCG because of his concerns over the regulations, which state CCGs must tender all services unless they can prove they can be delivered by only one provider.

The Government tweaked the original legislation to try to allay these fears, but NHS Clinical Commissioners and CCG leaders have warned they believe it will inhibit their ability to prioritise their patients’ needs.

Dr Ingram’s decision to step down follows that of a GP in Stoke-on-Trent who left his CCG role because of workload fears resulting from the new contract imposition.

Dr Ingrams said he would be taking the role of deputy chairman at the LMCs conference, but that he would not have stood for the role had he been happy with the ‘direction of travel’ of the Government’s reforms.   

He said: ‘The push is going to be to commercialise everything, privatising everything and as we have seen from GP out of hours, commercialising everything does not lead to a better quality of care and is not in the best interests of patients.’

‘If CCGs had the same flexibility as PCTs had, they could probably do a darn sight better job than PCTs had. The fact we have changed to CCGs at the same time as Section 75 was introduced has changed the outlook for the NHS.’

He added: ‘My experience and belief is that [CCGs] are purely bodies to control spend, to control practices’ ability to refer and prescribe. When one of the first conversations is “what are we going to cut, we’ve run out of money”, that is not a good start for any new body.’