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Experienced GPs and managers can give CCGs the best start

Does HSJ’s exclusive analysis of the leadership of clinical commissioning groups signal a lack of engagement in the reforms by GPs in general or a pragmatic response to the scale of the challenges ahead?

The fact that over two thirds of GP chairs have been involved in earlier forms of clinical commissioning will be put forward as evidence that the NHS has gone through a huge upheaval for little real change. This claim will be strengthened by the finding that - despite the government urging clinicians to step up - only 40 per cent of nominated CCG accountable officers are GPs and three quarters of the most senior CCG managers are primary care trust staff.

But those who are inclined to see the glass half full will view these trends as sensible and reassuring.

Those parts of the NHS which have made most progress over the last two decades are those with the best record of clinical engagement in service design and performance review. They have built a continuity of clinical leadership which has survived the changes in the organisational vehicles constructed to host it.

Assuming the CCGs have chosen wisely (or have been allowed to), the relatively high proportion of PCT managers in lead roles is another positive sign of continuity. Corporate memory is in danger of crumbling and anything that mitigates that should be welcomed.

The success of CCGs will rely on significant contributions from clinical and managerial leaders. It will also require a supply of new blood to inject renewed energy and ideas into the design of services. Attracting that will make it ever more important that experienced leaders are taking the helm while the new generation emerges.

Readers' comments (2)

  • I see no reason to abandon my initial characterisation of CCG's as reincarnated PCT's but this time open season for the private sector. Early days but I believe most lead GP's will have their ascension day to non exec existence within the next few years. The process of merging CCG's will continue after vesting day. Plus ça change.....

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  • Excellent analysis and surely now time for clinicians to grasp the nettle and use this opportunity to commission and deliver the level of service that they have always dreamed of. This does not mean that we should ignore the value of managers who have invested so much of their time and energy in the past few years trying to commission services for local populations. Their experience and contribution will be invaluable in supporting CCQs develop their expertise.
    Whether we like it or not we are too far down the
    line to ditch the Bill so let's grasp the nettle and work all together to make a real difference.

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