I think CCGs are shackled a lot. In Southampton, we have always been fairly active in PCGs and PCTs and as active as possible in these CCGs.
I just feel the Department of Health basically tells us what is going to happen. They always have and nothing has changed. I don’t think it will change. We’ve been told year after year that we will have more power at local level – we’ll be able to influence decisions, we’ll be able to commission things locally.
But the biggest problem is we just don’t have the money. We can’t free up money from secondary care to put into things that are necessary in primary care. There are loads of other pressures affecting general practice at the moment and to some extent GPs are just putting their heads down and getting on with their work and not taking much interest in what is going on.
Locally, our CCG has tried to engage with local practices. They have got all local practices to go to meetings, to talk to them.
But it is still a very centrally led system. We have got remnants of PCGs almost directing how things should happen, how we should do things.
One of the problems is that the people who put themselves up to be on CCGs are the same old faces. They are the ones who were prepared to stick their heads above the parapet. A lot of us either haven’t got the time or the information to do it.
I wouldn’t say we were powerless, but whatever power we have got is going to do very little.
Dr Peter Goodall is a GP in Southampton