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Shouldn’t we prioritise patient care over ‘transformation’?

jaimie kaffash 2 duo 3x2

jaimie kaffash 2 duo 3×2

GPs above all want to care for patients in an environment where their working lives are manageable. I realise that may not be the most controversial statement, but sometimes I think that commissioners don’t quite get that.

Take the example of Camden in north London. The CCG funded enhanced services for GPs for DOAC initiation and monitoring, services for the homeless, planned care and high-risk drug monitoring.

Yet, bafflingly, they decided to unilaterally cut this contract halfway through. The funding is staying at the same level. Yet instead of funding patient services, they decided to fund the setting up of federations.

Surely this funding would be better off in clinical care

As Camden LMC chair Dr Farah Jameel put it: ‘We are extremely disappointed that it has come to a situation in which GPs are being told they must sign a contract despite their clear concerns over its impact on patients… the decision to invest in federation infrastructure by reducing funding that has historically been invested in services and available at a practice level is disappointing.’

What Camden CCG is doing is not unusual. In Northern Ireland, they have committed £5m to set up federations. A massive part of the GP Forward View was to do with ‘transformational funding’.

Now, no money should be sniffed at – a point made well by Northern Irish GP leaders. But surely this funding would be better off in clinical care.

Of course, it would be lovely if there was funding for transformational change, clinical services and just keeping up with inflation. But in the absence of this, should the obsession with upscaling really be the number one priority?

Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse