18. July 2012 15:42
GPs fill less than half of the seats of boards of clinical commissioning groups, new research has found.
Clinical commissioning is at the heart of the Government’s NHS reforms but in some parts of the country GPs fill just a fifth of senior positions.
The study by Pulse Magazine found that on 44% of CCG boards fewer than half of members were doctors – mainly due to financial restraints.
Despite the findings, a spokesperson for the Department of Health said the statistics were “encouraging” with “twice as many GPs than managers on CCG governing bodies”.
The study of 1,325 positions across a hundred commissioning groups in England discovered that only 645 seats were occupied by practitioners. Managers and finance officers accounted for a further 267 positions, whilst there were 140 lay members and a further 65 nurses.
Surprisingly, hospital doctors were only allocated positions on 36 CCG managerial committees despite a requirement from the DH that each board should include a specialist. To date, research found, only 7 of the 36 positions have been filled.
Bob Senior, Head of Medical Services at RSM Tenon and Chair of the Association of Independent Specialist Medical Accountants, said that management allowances had influenced the number of clinicians included on CCG boards. “The economies of scale don’t work so smaller groups are having to use that money judiciously, which means you can’t have quite as big an involvement from GPs.”
“The main driver for Andrew Lansley’s reforms was to put budgets in the hands of frontline clinicians – if GP-led commissioning is to have any chance of succeeding, it must be led by GPs,” said Steve Nowottny, acting editor of Pulse.