This site is intended for health professionals only

Consultants may be too expensive for CCG boards

GP commissioners could be forced into paying ‘prohibitively high' costs to recruit hospital doctors to CCGs, amid claims that specialists are ‘unconvinced' that that sitting on CCGs is a good use of their time.

A report by the NHS Alliance's Specialists in Commissioning Network  warns of a lack of clarity on levels of pay for hospital doctors on CCG boards. It warns the cost of remunerating specialists for their time involved with CCGs could be ‘prohibitively high' and says hospital trusts are unlikely to put forward senior consultants for CCG roles if they receive the same level of pay as GPs, nurses and lay members on the CCG.

The NHS Alliance also warns that ‘specialists remain unconvinced' of the benefits of CCG involvement, unless a specific function is identified for them on the board. It states that the time commitment involved for practising clinicians to take on roles with CCGs outside their locality is a further barrier to engagement.

Writing in the report, lead author Dr Minoo Irani, Specialists in Primary Care Network Lead at the NHS Alliance, said:

‘If hospital trusts are to be remunerated for all of the time required by their specialist doctors for involvement with CCG governance, the costs for CCGs may be prohibitively high.

‘On the other hand, if all members of CCG governing bodies (including GPs, nurses, specialist doctors and lay members) are remunerated at the same level, hospital trusts may not actively encourage their most senior, experienced and expensive specialists to apply for these positions, especially when those CCGs are expected to fall outside the limits of their influence.'

The report adds: ‘Early indications are that specialists remain unconvinced that their time would be best spent by involvement with CCG governance, unless a specific function is identified for them in this role.'

The NHS Alliance report recommends that proposals are tabled for remuneration options for specialists who take on CCG roles and clarification is provided on the ‘purpose, role and responsibilities' of specialists sitting on CCGs.