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Row over BMA plan for GP consortia elections

By Ian Quinn

GP leaders have clashed over the issue of who should lead the new GP consortia, with disagreement over the need for a nationwide series of elections.

Pulse reported last week that the BMA was urging LMCs across England to start organising leadership contests as a matter of urgency to decide who heads up local commissioning consortia.

The GPC insisted in its guidance that fledgling consortia must secure the democratic backing of all GPs or they would not be legitimate.

However the move has angered the National Association of Primary Care, which said LMCs had no right to determine the shape of consortia.

NAPC chair Dr Johnny Marshall said: ‘GP consortia should be supported in working out arrangements locally to meet their particular needs. And in keeping with the spirit of the white paper, where consortia are encouraged to drive arrangements from grassroots, these should not be determined centrally by government, primary care trusts or the BMA’.

He added: ‘A one-size-fits-all arrangement is not appropriate’.

The NAPC argues that GPs who are the cutting edge of commissioning should take on the job of leading the Government’s reforms and be rewarded with greater incentives than those GPs who have not produced such good results.

But GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman, speaking after the GPC’s monthly meeting yesterday, defended the call for all GPs to have a vote.

He said: ‘The people who run PBC may or may not be the right people to run consortia in shadow form and they may or may not be the right people to run the real thing in 2013.’

‘Some entrepreneurs are good at setting things up but not so good at running them.’

The GPC says it will not insist on elections in every area on the country for shadow GP consortia, as long as the plans in place have involved a democratic process, but says there must be elections everywhere in England before the full handover to GPs in 2013.

Dr Johnny Marshall: LMCs have no right to tell GPs what to do Dr Johnny Marshall: LMCs have no right to tell GPs what to do