GPs in some areas are being told to form clinical commissioning groups in time to take over budgets by April 2013, even when they don’t want to, the British Medical Association GPs committee has said.
GPC chair Laurence Buckman today said there were several reports of GPs involved in commissioning being “bullied” to complete processes by specific points and plan “dates for authorisation”.
Dr Buckman, following a meeting of the committee, said in other instances they were being dictated to about “who you will get commissioning support from and who is running [commissioning] training”.
He said: “CCGs mustn’t let them[selves] be bullied into making any decisions they are unhappy with. We will work with local medical committees to work with CCGs to ensure they are not pushed in one direction.”
Dr Buckman said: “They can do whatever they want to a timetable of their choosing. The government has made it clear there will not be a 2013 deadline in quite the way that was envisaged.”
Following the government’s “pause” and review of its NHS reforms in the summer, ministers said GPs would only take on commissioning when they are “ready and willing”, rather than the original April 2013 deadline.
However, since then the DH has said it intends all CCGs to be authorised by April 2013, and hopes they will all be “fully authorised”, taking on all the budget they are eligible for. Primary care trust clusters are being performance managed on how much of their budget they have delegated to emerging CCGs.
Dr Buckman said it was generally PCT clusters which were telling GPs what to do.
He said that – while the BMA had expressed its preference that commissioning staff remain part of the NHS – CCGs should be able to decide how their own support was provided.
A survey of clinical commissioners by the NHS Alliance and National Association of Primary Care earlier this month found many said they were being “bullied”.