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Conference caffeine

As I travelled up to conference on the train eating my breakfast, I wondered if delegates at the NAPC conference this year would complain that the implementation of the reforms have become a moveable feast.

Since last year, the bill has gone ‘out there’ if you like and been reformed, senates introduced, PCT clusters announced and we are still waiting for key detail such as what the management allowance will be – though Lansley did tell conference this would be forthcoming later this month.

Mindful that delegates here are mostly commissioning enthusiasts, nevertheless the mood does seem to be about getting on with it.

Conversations over coffee have highlighted a few of the issues on CCGs’ minds.

The first is, as Dr Stephen Richards, of Oxfordshire articulated in his presentation yesterday: ‘Are we just a PCT upside down?’

Another CCG exec member said to me: ‘We go to meetings and the GPs are saying to us ‘”you, the CCG” where before they said “the PCT”.’

Another – not unthinkable possibility – is that we could end up with fewer CCGs than PCTs. This is how another coffee conversation with someone working for a PCT cluster went.

‘I phoned a colleague the other day and said “oh you’ve got 12 CCGs in your cluster haven’t you, oh no I forgot it’s gone down to 8″.’ The response from her colleague ” we’ve gone down to four since we last spoke.”

Finally, the appetite for CCGs having more ‘control and power’ over primary care commissioning seems to definitely be there.

‘Of course when you redesign a service, primary care is in the pathway. We have to be on it.’ One GP said to me.

As you can probably tell, I’ve drunk a lot of coffee at this conference.