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London councils make bid for winter urgent care planning and GP co-commissioning

London councils have made a bid to take on responsibility for winter urgent care planning, while also reiterating demands to take part in co-commissioning of GP services.

In a new paper, the councils recommend health and wellbeing boards (HWBs) – the local advisory bodies which has representatives from CCGs, social care and councils – to take on the planning for next winter to avoid a repeat A&E crisis.

They have further renewed calls, first made last year, for the boards to take an oversight role of CCG commissioning of GP services under co-commissioning regulations

The report comes just a week after news broke of Government plans to devolve the entire £6bn healthcare budget for Manchester to be under joint control of local authorities and CCGs.

The new paper said: ‘HWBs should be given responsibility for operational resilience and capacity planning for 2015/16 with a requirement for these plans to be closely aligned with and ideally incorporated into local Better Care Fund plans.’

It added: ‘In October 2015, a statutory order was passed enabling CCGs to form joint committees with each other and with NHS England for the purpose of commissioning services. London Councils would like to see this order extended to enable CCGs and local authorities to establish joint committees for this purpose. This would enable closer alignment between social care, public health and primary care commissioning.’

It also comes after a number of groups have analysed the future of healthcare planning for London in the last two years, including the The Better health for London report, led by Lord Ara Darzi for the London Health Commission, part of the London mayor’s office, which said £1bn was needed to upgrade GP practice premises and make them open 12 hours per day.

A report by the London Assembly’s health committee published last week suggested developing a ‘salaried service’ for general practice in the capital because of the high numbers of young GPs shunning partner positions.