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CCGs to share £186m budget for GP IT

CCGs will share a budget of £186 million a year to supply general practice IT, the NHS Commissioning Board has announced.

The Board said a budget of £186 million for general practice IT will be divided by the 211 CCGs proposed in England, while the GPC has called for clarity on individual budgets.

The Board announced in June that it would devolve responsibility for funding hardware, networks and IT support to CCGs, but would retain control over funding for GP clinical systems through GP Systems of Choice.

The Board said they have not agreed how it will be divided, but they aim to reach an agreement by the 8 March so that arrangements will be in place for when CCGs take over responsibility for commissioning on the 1 April.

A spokesperson for the Board said: ‘The aim is to reach an agreement by 8 March and have commissioning arrangements in place by 1 April.

‘As a fallback, there will be the ability to issue memorandum of understandings (MoUs) to cover these services until formal commissioning can take place.’

But GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul, who leads on IT for the GPC, said CCGs need clear budgets so they could make suitable arrangements for GP practices.

He said: ‘The devolving IT budgets for CCGs should be matched with delegated specific budgets for CCGs. Individual CCGs are still waiting for their individual budgets - we have the overall figure but it’s difficult to disaggregate this amount.

‘It’s important for CCGs to know how much they have to spend - this undermines the whole philosophy of CCGs having delegated control.’

He added that commissioning support units (CSUs) were now likely to take over provision of IT: ‘Because of the late stage CCGs are receiving this information, the default is that CSU’s are filling the function for IT.’