Exclusive Only one clinical commissioning group (CCG) in 10 currently has a consultant sitting on their board, a Pulse investigation can reveal.
Figures from 103 CCGs to have boards in place show that only 11 currently include a secondary care doctor.
The Government has ordered that when CCGs are set up as statutory bodies, every one must have a consultant on their board, but stipulated they must be from outside local health providers to alleviate potential conflicts of interest.
But GP commissioning leaders have attacked the policy and confronted health secretary Andrew Lansley to express scepticism at the plans, which also required CCGs to appoint at least one nurse and two lay members to their boards.
Our investigation found 42% of CCGs already have a nurse representative on their board, while 45% have a public health representative, and 40% have a lay representative.
But our figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act suggest many groups are struggling to source suitable consultant candidates.
Shadow CCGs said they were yet to appoint a consultant or nurse include Derbyshire County North, Northumberland, and Brighton and Hove.
Dr David Jenner, a GP in Cullompton, and of chair Mid Devon CCG, said he thought there was still a possibility of the Government relaxing the requirement to have a consultant on boards, which he described as ‘health bill silliness’.
He said: ‘The key thing is to involve consultants in care pathway planning. The board is probably not the most useful place to have them. That was a political concession, but combining their role with clinical senates could work.’