Most leaders would leave if groups' budgets were given to councils, survey finds
Large numbers of clinical commissioning group leaders would leave their roles if the groups’ budgets were given to local authorities, as has been proposed by the shadow health secretary.
Respondents were asked about the likely effects of transferring their budgets and making CCGs advisory bodies to councils.
Andy Burnham suggested the change in January as part of proposals aimed at better integrating care. He said it would be tested in discussion with the health service and councils.
Asked if “you personally would leave your CCG position”, 63 per cent of respondents said they were likely or very likely to do so.
Eighty-five per said it was likely or very likely “some of the CCG’s GP leaders would leave”.
Thirty-five per cent said it was likely or very likely “all the CCG’s GP leaders would leave”. Thirty-six per cent said this was unlikely or very unlikely, and the remainder said they did not know.
In relation to the effect of the policy, 42 per cent of respondents said it was likely or very likely the policy would mean “health and care services would be less well integrated around individuals”.
However, a significant minority of 18 per cent of respondents said it was likely or very likely “health and care services would be better integrated around individuals”.
Separately from the Labour proposal, respondents were also asked about whether they believed their CCG would create a significant shared, joint or pooled commissioning budget with local authorities in the next year.
The largest group − 41 per cent − said they did. Thirty-one per cent said they did not, 17 per cent that they did not know, and 11 per cent that they already had one.
North East Lincolnshire CCG chief clinical officer Peter Melton, also co-chair of NHS England’s clinical commissioning assembly, said: “Most CCGs are very keen to work in partnership with local authorities, but they want it to be a partnership as opposed to… working on behalf of elected members.”
NHS North East Essex CCG chief clinical officer Shane Gordon, an NHS Alliance commissioning lead, said the NHS would “struggle to keep GPs involved in the commissioning process” if it were led by councils. He said: “Nobody in their right mind would welcome another reorganisation at this stage.”
A spokesman for Mr Burnham, responding to the survey, said: “Our proposals are still at an early stage and we are taking detailed soundings from across the NHS, including CCGs. We hope they will help us build a policy that will command widespread support.”
He said CCGs’ views about a proposal under which they would lose budgets were “hardly surprising”. He added: “But the crisis in health and care will not be solved by keeping things as they are. We are discussing our proposals with the sector over a long period and will of course listen to CCG leads.”