The formation of the GP consortia bodies is being seen as an opportunity to be grasped by the best of the PCT teams.
The impact of the savings cuts on PCTs has been variable in terms of their response. However, I have to say that there is an emerging theme which I am seeing: the sense that this may be an opportunity for some individuals and teams.
Had the cuts been implemented unilaterally then maybe this wouldn’t have been the case. Perhaps there would have been some shuffling of budgets and procrastination. The publication of the white paper has shifted the balance critically.
To ensure that they appeal to their new parents, PCT teams need to be well dressed and presented to get through the adoption process, to earn the new surname of consortia.
Utopia for GPs has to be to adopt a ready made family, housetrained and ready to go. Sharp minded individuals at PCTs have spotted that deliverable outcomes are key to their success not only in the adoption process, but in keeping the family unit intact in the future. Those elements which aren’t able to demonstrate value for money or commerciality will need to be addressed.
The transition from PCT to consortia can be loosely compared to a management buyout within the private sector. In this situation the management team (the executive and board of the PCT) proposes itself as suitable for funding to a Private Equity House (the GPs). Funding is sought by the newly formed team through the PE House from banks (the Government).
The PE House wants to see that the management team has a deliverable business plan in place. They will want to see that the team has a track record of delivering against forecasts. They will need to know that they can all get on in a tense boardroom.
The buy out team need to ensure that they meet these qualifying expectations. In the current situation that means showing that they know where their weaknesses lie, reforming to suit the new environment. A business plan with measurable and deliverable outcomes is important (without falling into the trap of believing that a business plan is a static entity). They will need to demonstrate that they are willing to embrace change, and have the resources available to them to survive in the new commercial world which the public sector is entering.
Clinical services can always be delivered by throwing more resources behind them. For that read money. Commerciality has to flow through the processes employed by consortia for them to stand any chance of sustainability. By the time they become consortia, successful PCTs have to be presented as well managed in commercial terms, being able to demonstrate real value for money.
For those individuals involved in PCTs who can see the way forward, this is an opportunity to make something out of a difficult situation. Private commercial organisations have always had to deal with these pressures, to one degree or another, and the best not only survive, they become stronger as a result. The career paths of key individuals will change, broadening skill bases and increasing their worth.
Adversity can create opportunity. The qualifier is that you have to be smart to spot the opportunity and resourceful enough to convert it into a positive outcome.
Graham Hallows, Commercial and Clinical Solutions