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GP providers ‘may have to be licensed by Monitor’

GPs providing large-scale non-GMS services may have to be licensed by Monitor, the head of the regulator has disclosed.

David Bennett, chair and interim chief executive at Monitor, said that while the focus would continue to be on large acute providers, GPs that were involved in providing larger community type services may need to be licensed.

The recently passed Health and Social Care Act requires Monitor to register providers as part of its role looking at pricing, competition and integrated care in the NHS.

The Department of Health has yet to disclose which providers will have to be licensed by Monitor, although Mr Bennett said that he expected smaller providers to be exempt.

Addressing delegates at the NHS Alliance and NAPC Clinical Commissioning Coalition's conference for CCG leaders earlier this week, Mr Bennett said: ‘Potentially, GPs as providers may be covered by that provider license.'

‘The question of "will [GPs] need to be licensed if taking on larger services such as community services"… is where the exemption regime kicks in.'

‘It's pretty obvious that large providers such as FTs will need to be licensed. I would say it's quite likely that very small providers shouldn't be licensed by us.'

‘It probably won't cover every single provider, the DH is responsible for determining who is and isn't included. They will consult on this very soon.'

In a wide ranging discussion about the regulator's remit, Mr Bennett was also asked by Dr Michael Dixon, NHS Alliance chair whether Monitor was prepared to ‘play umpire' in disputes between CCGs and hospitals.

‘The big issue for us is many CCGs are reducing their referrals and their unscheduled admissions are going down, but the bills to the hospital are exactly the same,' said Dr Dixon.

Mr Bennett replied: ‘I do think we need to engage on this. It is increasingly clear there are difficulties between the commissioners and FTs.'