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Healthcare Professionals Commissioning Network (HCPCN)

The principles of GP commissioning: a General Practitioners Committee statement in the context of ‘Liberating the NHS’

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The principles of GP commissioning: a General Practitioners Committee statement in the context of ‘Liberating the NHS’

This statement from the British Medical Association (BMA) outlines their views on what the fundamental principles underlying the development of GP commissioning should compromise. The BMA argue that these principles should be used to define policy, inform debate and negotiations and ensure that good medical practice is enshrined within the proposed White Paper changes to the NHS.

Press Release (20 August 2010)

The BMA’s GPs Committee (GPC) today (Friday 20 August 2010) outlined what it believes should be the fundamental principles underlying the development of GP commissioning. 

In the GPC’s first position statement on GP commissioning since the publication of the Government White Paper it says that these principles should be used to define policy, inform debate and negotiations, and ensure that good medical practice is enshrined within the changes proposed in “Liberating the NHS”. 

Commenting on the document, Dr Laurence Buckman, Chairman of the BMA’s GPs Committee, said: 

“Even though there is still little detail about how commissioning will work we know that many Primary Care Trusts are pushing ahead trying to make arrangements. We are therefore producing a series of documents aimed at helping GPs during this critical phase.” 

“Under the White Paper plans GPs will be asked to take responsibility, through consortia, of a large proportion of the NHS budget, however their first responsibility should still always be to their patient.  If GP commissioning is to work these are the principles that we think all involved should adhere to.” 

Among the principles outlined by the GPC are: 

•         GPs must not personally profit from commissioning budgets.   Freed up resources will be reinvested in patient care. 

•         A contract held by a GP should never be allowed to conflict with their professional responsibilities in providing care for patients.

•         GP consortia should ensure that, wherever possible, NHS providers are the providers of choice. 

•         Public and patient involvement should be integral to the work of consortia. 

•         Consortia must be committed to reducing healthcare inequality, wherever possible.

•         A commissioning consortium must be democratically accountable to practices within the consortium and should also act with integrity and leadership when considering the accountability of practices. 

Dr Laurence Buckman added: 

“If GP commissioning is to bring real change and benefit to patients and the NHS then time needs to be given to planning how it should work, based on the principles we’ve outlined. I would urge GPs to resist pressure to move too quickly, send questions and concerns to us and keep an eye on the BMA website as we will be producing practical guidance on a regular basis.” 

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