Doctors set to take on £40m health budget

From broken bones to new beginnings

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DOCTORS are to get control of the £40m budget to pay for GP services.

Clinical commissioning groups – made up of doctors – are in charge of allocating money to services such as mental and community healthcare and hospital care.

At the moment, funding is distributed by NHS England, but that is due to change with the CCGs taking over.

They will also be responsible for other duties such as incentive schemes, establishing new practices and approving practice mergers.

And in order to resolve a conflict of interest where GPs are paying themselves, committees will be set up.

They will meet in public, be chaired by a lay member, and include someone from the local council and patient watchdog group Healthwatch.

A presentation was delivered at the Fareham and Gosport CCG on the plans by Sara Tiller, chief development officer for the CCGs.

She said: ‘Delegated commissioning will help us combat health inequalities by putting more primary care and community services in the places we feel they are most needed, such as Leigh Park and Rowner.

‘It will help us develop seamless, integrated out-of-hospital services and help the local NHS achieve increased efficiencies.’

Steve Taylor, manager of Hampshire Healthwatch, said: ‘Patients will be anxious and will want to understand how GPs will make sure there is no conflict of interest.

‘Also, what has to be key to these changes is that patients see a benefit at the end of it.’

South Eastern Hampshire, which covers the Havant area, is due to make a decision at its governing board meeting next Wednesday.

Dr Jim Hogan, lead for the Portsmouth CCG, said: ‘Our view is that co-commissioning can bring benefits for both patients, and the NHS itself.

‘It will allow us to be more “joined up” when we are planning how to give patients truly integrated services outside hospitals.

‘And it will help us to involve the people working in primary care in decisions about how we can improve NHS services in the future.’

A date for the transition to take place has not yet been announced by the CCGs.