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We’re not losing our grip on budgets

We were rather surprised to see our CCG mentioned in your front-page story (‘GPs lose grip on budgets as CCGs slide into red‘).

GPs in Barking and Dagenham certainly do not feel that we are losing our grip – quite the contrary. The two pathfinders in Barking and Dagenham have recently agreed to join, and have reviewed strategic priorities and opportunities to ensure we achieve financial balance.

Your story uses month-four figures taken directly from our September cluster board papers – hardly the result of any great ‘investigation’ on your part. The figures have been in the public domain for some time.

We are wrestling with some of the most challenging local health factors in our part of east London and a historically over-performing urgent care sector. Urgent care is our main priority and we are already working collaboratively across CCGs to realise a system-wide impact. We have undertaken a peer review of non-elective admissions and are supporting a redirection pilot from A&E back to primary care where appropriate. As GPs, we are now leading on contract negotiations with key providers and focusing on ensuring delivery against agreed outcomes.

Far from losing grip, these are the actions of a newly configured, single CCG with a clear focus and the ability to address the health needs of our population.

From Dr Gurkarit Kalkat and Dr Chandra Mohan

Barking and Dagenham CCG