Why is the GPC not suggesting co-ordinated action in response to the contract imposition? We have a powerful negotiating weapon that we seem to be ignoring. A co-ordinated resignation of practices from CCGs would have no effect on patients or doctors but would cause apoplexy in Government and Whitehall.
It is surprising that GPs who have been coerced into commissioning are not now questioning whether we wish to continue our involvement. Why should we help the Government with its NHS rationing difficulties? The Government cannot allow its commissioning ‘project’ to fail. But CCGs are membership organisations. The statutory duty to belong to a CCG may be part of the new contract – but it is not in the old one.
If we resign from our CCGs, political chaos will follow. The Government will be forced back to the negotiating table. The public will not be affected and will have no understanding of what is happening. We will not be seen to be complaining about money – just reconsidering the flawed health bill proposals. Commissioning enthusiasts might have to twiddle their thumbs for a bit, but we have survived without fully functioning PCTs for many months. A few more will not sink the NHS.
If practices want to leave CCGs, they do not have to justify themselves. If the Government wishes to use the courts to impose the contract and commissioning, we should challenge them to do so. It is important to emphasise this is not a debate about money or pros and cons of commissioning. It is a point of principle. We have negotiated in good faith and do not wish to be treated in this way.
Shame on the GPC for being so despondent. We should all stand up, stop moaning and call for a boycott of commissioning if negotiations are not reopened.
From Dr Anthony O’Brien, Silverton, Devon