By Gareth Iacobucci
The RCGP and the NHS Confederation have announced plans to form a joint network to support and represent new GP commissioning consortia in England.
The group, whose working title is the GP Commissioning Consortia Network, will aim to utilise the experience and influence of the two organisations to support the development of GP consortia in the following ways:
- Representing the views of GP commissioning organisations and advocating on their behalf – listening to their needs, forming responses and ensuring their voices are heard at key stages of policy development and implementation.
- Informing and influencing the development of healthcare policy to help ensure that new and existing initiatives lead to real improvements in the system and genuine advancements in patient care.
- Supporting commissioning organisations to deliver strong and innovative leadership to the NHS – providing unique insight, analysis and guidance on national healthcare policy and its implementation and offering a valuable forum for commissioners to come together to discuss ideas and share learning;
- Providing fresh thinking and helping to shape the wider healthcare debate so that commissioners can define the future agenda and assess long-term challenges and solutions.
The two organisations are undertaking market testing to ensure that the proposed new body – which is likely to usurp the Confederation’s PCT Network – reflects the needs of GPs and NHS staff involved in creating new consortia.
RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada said: ‘The white paper offers many opportunities – and many challenges – for health professionals and the new world of commissioning takes us into previously unchartered waters.’
‘Commissioning consortia will need a body that represents their views and acts as their collective voice. The RCGP and NHS Confederation, with our individual but complementary expertise, are best placed to provide this support.’
Nigel Edwards, acting chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: ‘The new world of the NHS set out in the white paper means a radical new agenda for GPs working together in commissioning consortia. Bringing commissioners and providers together will allow us to combine our strengths and offer practical and beneficial services to new commissioning organisations.’