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CCG development under threat as GPs “bullied” and “micromanaged”

Caroline White

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

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The development of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) is under threat as ordinary GPs find themselves being bullied and micromanaged by outgoing PCTs, a senior GP has warned.

CCGs are due to take over the responsibility for commissioning care from PCT clusters by April 2013, and will need to be “authorised” before they can become statutory bodies.

But many GPs feel that, despite government promises, they are not the ones in control of how their CCGs are being developed, claimed Dr Laurence Buckman (pictured), chair of the BMA’s GP Committee.

In his address to the annual Local Medical Committees’ conference starting today in Liverpool, Dr Buckman warned that as the NHS “lurches towards the buffers of financial and operational meltdown, we find that instead of the clear thinking that the NHS desperately needs right now we have regulation, bullying micromanagement, and dissipated effort.”

He acknowledged that in some areas of the country, the development of CCGs was progressing well, and that this needed to be celebrated, but in others, there are those who are trying to impose structures that are “mean-minded” and “unacceptable,” he said. 

He urged GPs to take a stand, promising that the BMA will itself try to influence the changes for the better.

“CCGs are ‘membership organisations’ as we keep on being told; they are our creatures not just another version of the PCTs they replace,” he said. “GPs should be telling them what to do, not the other way round. We were told it was going to be different…the government needs to make it so.”

He added: “LMCs must be at the forefront of every battle for the NHS, against every unwise attempt to make GPs do something outside their contracts, fighting for individual GPs against a system that makes PCT clusters dream up new and dubious ways to torture GPs and waste their practices’ time,” he said.

Many of the motions being discussed at this year’s conference relate to concerns about the development of CCGs (motions 64-73). Family doctors, Dr Buckman concluded, “are nervous for the future as they face rising workloads, and a host of unwelcome and unnecessary changes.” 

He called on the Government and those involved in the development of CCGs to listen to their concerns.  

“I am tired of the daily message that GPs are bad at something. Most patients say that most GPs are good at most things. Perhaps the politicians might acknowledge that occasionally. It wouldn’t harm them, unlike what they have done to our NHS,” he said.

The entire speech can be accessed here.

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