LMCs will be consulted on clinical commissioning groups’ (CCGs’) investigations of GPs’ performance in areas such as excessive prescribing, says health secretary Andrew Lansley.
The disclosure came in a letter from Mr Lansley to GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman, who had sought guarantees about the future role of LMCs in the wake of fears that they were being sidelined on decision-making in some areas.
Mr Lansley revealed that CCGs would have to consult LMCs when investigating practice behaviour, although the statutory duty would remain with the NHS Commissioning Board.
Mr Lansley wrote: ‘If the [NHS Commissioning] Board were to delegate the function of investigating excessive prescribing to a CCG, the Board would need to decide whether to involve the LMC itself…or whether to make delegated arrangements for the CCG to involve the LMC.’
He said he recognised the ‘important role played by LMCs in relation to local provision of primary medical services.’
Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC deputy chair, said: ‘We would like to see CCGs and LMCs meeting on a regular basis so that there is a sounding board for what the CCGs do. The LMCs will be able to provide advice and to challenge certain decisions where necessary.’