GPs 'outraged' at central commissioning of maternity services
GPs say it is “outrageous” that maternity services will be commissioned centrally and not by local consortia.
However, two thirds of GPs believe maternity services should be commissioned by consortia, according to a vote at a white paper listening event organised by the NHS Alliance.
In a report stemming from the event, the alliance said GPs “could not understand the logic” of keeping maternity services out of GP commissioning. Maternity was part of primary care and GPs were “best placed to facilitate maternity networks”, which are also due to be set up by the white paper, a report on the events said.
One speaker quoted in the report said: “It [maternity] is a vital link between GPs and the most disadvantaged, for whom it may be their only contact with primary care.”
Other speakers, the report says, believed consortia needed to control local spending on maternity services in order to stop unnecessary overnight admissions.
Other common concerns were also identified.
The report says: “There was cynicism, with people citing experience of previous reforms that had not lived up to promises of putting GPs in the driving seat. There was also impatience [at the lack of guidance from the government].
“But there was an equally strong demand for freedom and flexibility, and an end to command and control top down management approaches.”
The NHS Alliance held four listening events in London, Wetherby, Leicester and Newbury during September and October. The events were attended by around 400 GPs and practice managers.