STRUCTURE: Two GP groups within Barnsley cannot become pathfinders because of they are not geographically defined, their primary care trust has reported. It has established a GP commissioning transition group as a formal sub-committee of its board.

An April board paper said it was necessary “to enable GPs to take on commissioning responsibilities… during the transition period”. The group will be “a formal sub-committee of NHS Barnsley board to provide a forum for GP engagement in commissioning, while robust consortia arrangements are developed that will meet authorisation requirements”.

However, the paper notes problems with the emerging consortia. There are currently three GP groups: Barnsley Commissioning Consortium (formerly BACTS), Barnsley People’s First Consortium and Barnsley North Consortium. Barnsley North is disbanding, expecting practices to join with others.

But the board paper says: “Both Barnsley People’s First and Barnsley Commissioning Consortia have applied to be pathfinders. However neither has been successful as they don’t meet key requirements for consortia; both consortia do not have clearly defined geography with practices from each consortia sitting in and amongst each other.

“This has implications for commissioning of emergency services and services to non registered patients within a defined geographical area, which cannot be a shared function and cannot be delegated to another consortium.

“Also Barnsley People’s First is constituted as an LLP and such a body will not be permissible as a commissioning consortia.”