By Ian Quinn
Exclusive: GP shadow commissioning groups are being launched across the country, despite massive uncertainty over whether GPs are ready for the challenge, a Pulse investigation can reveal.
The shift in power is starting to show signs of real progress with GPs being handed control over commissioning budgets, with some already effectively acting as shadow consortia operations.
Despite worries some PCTs would be unwilling to co-operate with the handover, of 25 trusts who responded to our enquiries, all but six have either already handed greater representation to GPs or are planning to.
Across England trusts have been scrapping existing PEC committees, in order to replace them with commissioning bodies with wider GP influence.
But some have gone much further – NHS Cumbria, for example, has handed its payment by results, community services and prescription budgets to six GP consortia.
In NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney, all 26 GP practices have voted to form a not-for-profit company which will become a consortium for 230,000 patients.
Dr John Stammers, a GP from Southwold, said: ‘This will put us at the the forefront of GP commissioning in the east of England.’
NHS Redbridge said it was now effectively run by five area-based commissioning groups.
However, some PCTs appear to have failed to get the Government’s message.
Five of those contacted by Pulse said they had no plans to even reform their PEC body, with some claiming GPs already had adequate representation even though in some cases it meant just a handful of GPs on the board.
GPs in some areas have already been handed control over commissioning budgets GPs in some areas have already been handed control over commissioning budgets More on GP commissioning at the NAPC Annual Conference
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