a Pulse investigation reveals.Seven GP consortia – now to be rebranded clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) – are already the de facto commissioning organisations in their areas, having taken on 95% or more of their PCTs’ budgets.
But 57% of consortia have taken on no budgetary responsibility from their PCTs at all, with warnings they have almost no chance of being ready to take on commissioning by the original April 2013 deadline.
The Government last week revealed only CCGs that were ‘ready and willing’ would be authorised to take on full budgetary responsibility from April 2013, as part of a package of concessions on the health bill.
But its claims that most GPs would be on schedule to take over commissioning by 2013 are undermined by our findings, which suggest only those areas that were already active with practice-based commissioning are likely to be ready in time. Of 90 PCTs responding to Freedom of Information Act requests, 38 have devolved at least some portion of their budget to local consortia. Some 14 of these, including NHS Suffolk, NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale, and NHS Peterborough, have devolved budgets for prescribing and acute care.
NHS Isle of Wight has handed GPs budgets for first outpatient appointments and follow-ups, prescribing, continuing care, and direct-access diagnostics and imaging. NHS Nottingham City is one of four PCTs to have delegated mental health budgets along with a host of others, including maternity care, elective hospital care, urgent and emergency care, and ambulance and out-of-hours services.
Dr Peter Weaving, a GP in Brampton and commissioning locality lead for NHS Cumbria, said: ‘As of April 2011, we have 97% of the budget. It’s taken us three or four years – two to three was optimistic in the extreme. We’re making good progress but it would be disingenuous to say we’ve got it all sorted.’
Dr Nigel Watson, chair of the GPC’s commissioning and service development sub-committee and a GP in the New Forest in Hampshire – where the PCT has yet to pass any budgets to GPs – urged the Government to set an end date for full handover: ‘Quite a lot of consortia will not be ready by April 2013. But there has to be an end point and that’s not been clarified.'
A Department of Health spokesperson said: 'By April 2013, GP practices will be members of either an authorised commissioning consortia, or a “shadow” clinical commissioning group – one that is legally established but operating only in shadow form. This will ensure there is clarity about how different clinical commissioning groups cover the whole country without gaps.
'Were a clinical commissioning group is not able to take on some or all aspects of commissioning, the local arms of the NHS Commissioning Board will commission on its behalf.
'The NHS Commissioning Board will work with the GP practices and other stakeholders in these areas to develop fully operational consortia and hand over commissioning responsibility to them as they become ready, and in doing so, bring to an end the existing two-tier system of commissioning in the NHS.'
Link To: Revealed: How GP Commissioning Is Already Creating a Two-Tier System
The above proves that the government have not been listening and neither have they stopped these reforms, they have just re written them in different language and rebranded them, the government are treating the general public like fools.
The privatisation of the NHS continues at a pace and is already creating a two tier health system.