The RCGP was paid thousands of pounds by the Department of Health last year to ‘support the implementation of GP commissioning’, it has been disclosed.
The payments were revealed under the Freedom of Information Act after Pulse requested details of payments made by the DH to support commissioning.
The three payments to the college between April and November last year, totalling £87,531, funded events and educational workshops, training materials and attendance at DH meetings.
The figures also show the Family Doctor Association was paid £129,819 to support the implementation of commissioning, covering attendance at national meetings, establishment of working groups and the development of a guide for clinical commissioners.
RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada said: ‘Our recent collaborations covered by this funding have included the very successful summit on commissioning held in October 2011 which brought together GPs and consultants for the first time to discuss new ways of working on the future planning and delivery of healthcare services for patients.’
‘We are grateful to the DH for choosing the RCGP to help provide training and commissioning support for primary care as we can provide the high standard of expertise required in this area. The College does not make a profit from such activity but does charge a minimal fee to cover running costs and administration.’
But Dr Michael Dixon, chair of the NHS Alliance, said more money should go to organisations with specific expertise in commissioning.
‘The college clearly has a important educational role but doesn’t have a natural role in commissioning,’ he said. ‘The Alliance and NAPC have championed GP commissioning for almost 20 years. It’s best that that money goes to those who are committed. Sometimes it’s not clear that the College is pro-commissioning.’
Dr Peter Swinyard, chair of the Family Doctor Association, said: ‘Without this engagement of frontline GP organisations, the implementation of the commissioning agenda would have been the poorer and the benefit to patients less and the burden on GPs and their practices would have increased. None of our GP executive members has been paid for their work engaging with the Department of Health.’