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Practice managers can help CCGs keep members engaged, says Hakin

CCGs face a big challenge to keep practices engaged and should not overlook the role practice managers can play in this, Dame Barbara Hakin told today’s NHS Annual Conference.

Dame Barbara, national managing director of commissioning development for the NHS Commissioning Board, said: ‘One of my key thoughts as a CCG (following authorisation) would be how do I keep my practices on board? We have designed this policy in a way that absolutely puts practices at the heart of this. Never before have we had membership organisations. Practices are key and I don’t just mean GPs but all those who work in the practices need to own and belong and feel that the CCG is theirs. If the practice ever says ‘that CCG over there’ you’ve lost it, you might as well go back to being a PCT.’

She added: ‘It’s absolutely key that the practice nurses, attached community staff and practice managers are intimately involved in the business of the CCG.

‘When I was chief executive of a PCT, we had a practice managers meeting where all the practice managers attended and as the chief executive of the PCT I always went to that meeting and I hope those practice managers at that time felt they were able to phone me and say ”Barbara we’re worried about this or we think this is not happening”.

‘So CCG leaders think about practices as a whole entity and never underestimate the power of practice managers in helping you to help practices be the best they can be.’

 In more nuts and bolts on how commissioning policy will develop over the coming weeks, Dame Barbara said there would be planning guidance in the form of a framework for 2013/14 which would include CCG allocations, quality premium details and areas based on the mandate.

Funding for local enhanced services and IT expenditure would also sit with CCGs while the NHS Commissioning Board would be concerned with the core commissioning of PMS/GMS.

In his opening conference address, NHS Alliance chair, Dr Michael Dixon, said a ’15 year struggle to create clinical commissioning’ was over but that it was not yet ‘mission accomplished’.

He called for a new debate to begin on what the NHS and primary care should look like.

He said:   ‘Put simply, you could say we have dealt with commissioning .It is now time to look at provision.  Because excellent commissioning relies on excellent provision.  These ambitious reforms will only deliver if we can successfully harness the enthusiasm and commitment of frontline clinicians and managers and the wider providers of services within primary care.’