By Ian Quinn
Private consultancy firm McKinsey is telling GP consortia they will have to save £50m over the next four years and will have to take drastic action to prevent individual practices from ‘blowing the budget’.
Ben Richardson – a partner in the company that Pulse revealed is working with dozens of consortia across England – said the extent of the savings had not yet hit home and posed major questions about how to hold to account practices which may ‘blow the budget’.
He told a gathering of key NHS figures yesterday: ‘We need to recognise that GP commissioning is a big transformation.
‘These consortia will have on average 200,000 patients, with 100 GPs across 40 practices. They will be handling budgets of £330m on average and will have to save £50m over the next four years.
‘That’s £1m for each month for the next 48 months.’
Mr Richardson said the huge savings demanded would require a major shake up in the publication of data on practice spending, focusing especially on A&E attendances, adding that consortia would have to develop ways to ‘hold people to account’.
‘The key thing is what happens if one, two or three practices blow the budget by 10 or 20%,’ he said.
Pulse recently revealed McKinsey was working with at least 25 consortia across England on key areas of commissioning, including the QIPP efficiency drive, budget holding and new governance mechanisms.
Christian Dingwall, partner at law firm Hempson’s told the Westminster Health Forum that consortia would try to prevent ‘underperforming practices’ from joining for fear they could drag down their performance, which could effectively make it impossible for some GPs to retain their contracts.’
‘It’s unlikely that they will want to share that consortium with under-performing GPs,’ he said. ‘The consortia will be vitally important in who holds a GP contract and who can be a provider at all.’
The Government has said the NHS Commissioning Board will be able to assign responsibility for overseeing individual practices contract to consortia, including financial and clinical auditing and performance management and will be able to call in the board, the GMC or the CQC to take action against underperformers.