The NHS Confederation and the Royal College of GPs are to form a joint network to represent commissioning consortia.

The two organisations announced today they were “working together to explore” setting up what is has been given the working title GP Commissioning Consortia Network.

They are currently undertaking market testing to ensure the proposed new body “accurately reflects” the emerging needs of GPs and NHS staff involved is creating the new commissioning bodies.

The move would bring the two organisations into similar ground as the NHS Alliance and the National Association of Primary Care, both of which count a mix of GPs and primary care managers among their members.

NHS Confederation acting chief executive Nigel Edwards said:  “Bringing commissioners and providers together will allow us to combine our strengths and offer practical and beneficial services to new commissioning organisations.”

RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada, who took up office on Saturday, said: “Commissioning consortia will need a body that represents their views and acts as their collective voice. The RCGP and NHS Confederation, with our individual but complementary expertise, are best placed to provide this support.”

The organisations have set the following aims, to:

  • represent the views of GP commissioning organisations and advocate on their behalf - listening to their needs, forming responses and ensuring their voices are heard at key stages of policy development and implementation.
  • inform and influence the development of healthcare policy to help ensure that new and existing initiatives lead to real improvements in the system and genuine advancements in patient care.
  • support commissioning organisations to deliver strong and innovative leadership to the NHS - providing unique insight, analysis and guidance on national healthcare policy and its implementation and offering a valuable forum for commissioners to come together to discuss ideas and share learning;
  • provide fresh thinking and help shape the wider healthcare debate so that commissioners can define the future agenda and assess long-term challenges and solutions.