STRUCTURE: A GP practice that was excluded from the Salford clinical commissioning group for overspending is likely to rejoin in coming months, the group’s chair has said.

Hundreds Health CCG excluded the Sorrel Bank Medical Practice about a year ago.

The practice had overspent against its share of the emerging CCG’s budget for three successive months which, under an agreement with NHS Salford, triggered a review. It had previously been a member of the Hundreds Health practice based commissioning group.

The CCG includes all other practices in Salford and is regarded as one of the most developed groups nationally.

CCG chair Hamish Stedman said there could be justification for overspending, but in this case the practice was “unable to explain its spending and [therefore] was asked to leave the consortium”.

Dr Stedman told HSJ the practice’s spending is now in line with its fair share of funding and it is likely to rejoin the CCG before the end of the year.

Some commentators have observed that if CCGs exclude underperforming practices it could drive up quality, because if they do not improve they could be forced out of practice.

Commenting on whether the policy had the potential to drive improvement in that way, Dr Stedman said that “for GPs to become fully appraised of the financial consequences of their behaviour” was the “raison d’être” of clinical commissioning.

Dr Stedman said the NHS Commissioning Board had the power to force CCGs to take in practices, but it they are excluded it could lead the board – which will hold GP contracts – to take action to force up standards.

He said: “The commissioning board would want to ask why that practice had been asked to leave.”