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GPs take back community services in radical commissioning shake-up



By Ian Quinn

Exclusive: GPs have come up with a radical new business model to keep community services based in primary care, which would see them take control over the acute and community budgets of their PCT.

ESYDOC, a partnership of 20 practices in Surrey, has put forward proposals under the Department of Health’s Transforming Community Services programme aimed at taking charge of budgets across the community, acute and social care sectors, which they claim would be the first deal of its kind in the country.

Their plan is the latest example of GPs trying to wrest back influence over community services in the controversial Government money-saving shake up.

The Surrey partnership, which already manages a £135m budget across primary and secondary care, says it has the backing of its local acute trust and community nurses and that it wants to buck a national trend which has seen most community services transferred to either acute or mental health trusts.

Dr Joseph McGilligan, chairman of ESYDOC, which includes 72 GP partners, said: ‘The community nurses want to work in the community. They don’t want to work in acute.’

He said the proposals would see more than 25 community nurses, plus health visitors and specialist nurses in COPD and diabetes services come under a new integrated care organisation, with GPs at the helm. He added: ‘We’re seizing the intiative.’ GPs in PCTs including Dudley and Somerset have also put in bids to take on community services.

The proposal will see GPs working with COPD specialist nurses in integrated organisations