GP engagement with clinical commissioning groups has slightly fallen with only half feeling they are involved in decision making, according to an NHS England commissioned survey.

Ipsos MORI was commissioned to carry out “360 degree stakeholder surveys” of the views of a range of partner organisations as well as CCGs’ member GP practices, for all the 211 groups.

Those surveyed included local authorities, health and wellbeing boards, Healthwatch and other patient groups, providers and other CCGs.

The national report was published by NHS England earlier this month.

It found most organisations were “largely positive about the engagement they have received from CCGs”, with more than four-fifths saying they had been engaged. It was carried out in the spring, a year on from similar work a year earlier.

It said most people were “positive about the extent to which CCGs listen to their views and act on them”.

However it highlighted problems with engagement of GP practices, which are meant to control CCGs.

Only half of practices said they felt involved in CCG decision making processes.

GP and patient

The survey found GP practices were ‘among the least positive of all stakeholder groups’ in CCGs

The report said: “While GP member practices generally report that they have been engaged well by their CCG, and on the whole tend to rate working relationships within the CCG positively, the results show a general decline in engagement and relationships since [2013], and they are among the least positive of all stakeholder groups.”

It said GP practices “tend to be among the least positive stakeholder groups on many of the overall measures”.

It found 82 per cent said they had been engaged at least a fair amount in the past year, compared with 87 per cent last year, just as CCGs were being established and authorised by NHS England. Seventy-four per cent said working relationships were good, down from 80 per cent last year.

All practices were invited to take part and the response rate was 65 per cent.

The findings are more positive than a British Medical Association survey of 1,400 GPs in June, in which only 44 per cent said engagement was better than in predecessor primary care trusts.

Department of Health surveys of GP practices between 2007 and 2009, asking about its “practice based commissioning” policy, found around three quarters practices rated their relationship with their primary care trust as good, and 63 per cent supported the policy.

An NHS England spokesman said: “After a year of operation, the overall opinion of CCGs is really good.

“GP member practices and CCGs are continuing to work together to strengthen and improve their relationships and engagement.”