GPs “not interested” in taking on management role, health chief claims

A HEALTH chief has voiced concerns that some GPs are “not interested” in taking on management responsibilities when NHS Suffolk is abolished, The EADT can reveal.

The shift of power and budget from primary care trusts to family GPs is at the core of the biggest shake up in the NHS for decades.

But concerns have now been raised over how this will be achieved, given that it will take a lot of time and money to engage with doctors over the next few months.

Martin Smith, non-executive director at NHS Suffolk, and chairman of its Practice-Based Commissioning Committee, said: “It is going to become essential that all GPs commit to making this change.

“I am extremely worried about how the resources and time is going to be found to enable what has to happen. The leaders of each Practice-based commissioning board will need to go each GP practice but I do not see how it will be funded. Some GPs do not have the interest or competence at the moment [to take this change on].”

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Under the proposals announced in the Government’s White Paper, NHS Suffolk, the county’s primary care trust, and the region’s strategic health authority, NHS East of England, will be abolished by 2013.

In their place GPs will join forces to form consortia and will be given the task of controlling about �70billion of taxpayers’ money, which is currently handled by the PCT and SHA.

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Janet Massey, a Felixstowe GP and British Medical Association’s (BMA’s) Suffolk secretary, said: “We should be shadowing every single committee. The GPs are capable of doing it if they are given the money and the resources. The issue is how they are going to do this with all their extra work.”

It was stated in the board papers of the Practice-based Commissioning Partnership Committee that work is being done to engage with the current consortia representatives. NHS Suffolk chief executive Paul Watson said there was a “willingness to work constructively in partnership”. In conclusion it was warned that although some may be enthusiastic about the transition, it was “likely that other colleagues might not share that enthusiasm.”

Ivan Rudd, chief executive of IPSCOM, Ipswich-based GP consortia, said: “We are working very closely with the PCTS in implementing the policies of the White Paper. I would agree that more resources to release GPs capacity to develop their roles will be required. We are meeting the new PCT chief executive next week and hope to be able to agree some priorities. The future is GP-led so that means skilling up GPs and releasing them from their day jobs.”

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