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GPs not ‘lesser doctors’ if they don’t commission

By Gareth Iacobucci

Exclusive: GPs should not be stigmatised as 'lesser doctors' if they don't take a hands on role in commissioning, according to the Government's primary care tsar.

In an exclusive interview with Pulse, Dr David Colin-Thome said he expected many GPs would seize the opportunities presented by the Government's sweeping overhaul of the NHS, but said the 'significant numbers' that wished to concentrate solely on providing should not be cast aside and viewed as second class GPs.

The Department of Health's national clinical director for primary care said the reforms laid out in the NHS White Paper offered 'options for everybody', despite plans to offer extra incentives to those that successfully take on greater commissioning roles.

Although the Government has stipulated that every GP practice must join a local commissioning consortium, Dr Colin-Thome said this would not mean that all GPs would have to commission individually.

He told Pulse: ' I think a significant amount of GPs will want to be just good providers of care in their practices. But I think there are enough GPs who want to also have a good overview of what happens to their population on a bigger scale than just their practice.'

'If you just say "I want to be a really good GP in my practice", then be a really good GP in your practice. There are options for everybody.'

'I know that plenty of them do want that responsibility. But don't think you're a lesser doctor if you only want to be a good provider of services.'

Dr Colin-Thome urged GPs who were fearful of the plans to make their concerns known during the three-month consultation period on the plans.

But despite the numerous obstacles ahead, he predicted that GPs were up to the challenge.

He said: 'The range of options for GPs has just been broadened, but we believe that general practice and practitioners are the bedrock of our health service, and that's why we want to give them, if they so wish, an extended responsibility.'

Dr David Colin-Thome Interview in full