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Most commissioning leaders won’t face re-election

Exclusive: Most GPs will be denied the chance to re-elect their representatives on their CCG board before it takes on commissioning responsibility, Pulse's investigation has found.

Our analysis of 100 CCGs gathered data on the appointment process for 480 GP board positions and found more than three-quarters have been subject to elections to date.

But just a third of these positions will be put up for re-election once CCGs are fully authorised, despite the GPC's insistence that fresh elections are necessary to ensure CCGs have a proper democratic mandate before they become statutory bodies.

GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman warned in April that GPs on shadow CCG boards should not be automatically transferred to CCG boards.

The figures, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, show that 75% of GPs currently on CCG governing bodies have been elected, although two-thirds stood unopposed.

But only 25% will face re-election once authorised, with the remaining CCGs having no plans to re-elect board members before April 2013. 

Dr Nigel Watson, chair of the GPC's commissioning and service development subcommittee and chief executive of Wessex LMCs, said shadow board members must be re-elected: ‘People have been appointed into shadow roles. These may be the right people, but they can't take that for granted. We don't see how people can assume they will become the statutory representatives.'

Dr Watson added it was up to LMCs and practices to make sure CCGs were established on firm democratic footings.

Dr Sarah Schofield, chair of West Hampshire CCG, said: ‘My CCG has made it clear we were elected in shadow form and had to go back to the electorate. I think the membership organisations will need to decide the difference between shadow and live boards.'

But Dr Catti Moss, a GP in Guilsborough, Northamptonshire, said: ‘With our local CCG the board members were appointed in a shadow role, but it was clearly with the intention they should continue. You do need some continuity.'