NHS Alliance has not got cold feet on GP commissioning.
As its most avid supporter, we have championed over many years the right of frontline GPs (and their patients) to shape local services and health initiatives and to play a hand in ensuring that scarce resources are used cost effectively.
Our comments were simply on the detail of how to go about this. A few GPs (probably that "5%") will want to take on hard budgets now and accept personal profit or loss depending on outcome.
Quite a few may want to work with budgets as a social enterprise/co-operative type organisation because they think this will be best for maintaining NHS values and relationships with local patients. Many have yet to develop effective GP consortia and they will need PCT support "pro tem".
Government policy will strengthen the arm of all these GP commissioners across the spectrum. NHS Alliance will equally support, enable and represent all GP commissioners accepting that there will be variety of organisational arrangements.
All that matters is that these local arrangements are suitable for local patients and GPs and that they result in better local health and more cost effective services.
Dr Michael Dixon, Chair, NHS Alliance
Editor's note: Pulse was careful to describe the NHS Alliance as 'a leading advocate of GP commissioning'. Our story made clear that the Alliance's reservations were not about the importance of GP commissioning in general, but specifically about Andrew Lansley's radical and fast-paced plans for GPs to take over almost entirely from PCTs. We stand by our story.