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Concerns over GP groups

21st September 2011

The new Clinical Commissioning Groups that are due to take over commissioning NHS care has raised concern about budgets.

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The CCGs are also worried they will be under pressure to become larger.

The NHS Alliance and the National Association of Primary Care, which have joined forces to represent CCGs, surveyed the 253 new CCGs, with 131 answering a range of questions.

Out of those, a third (36%) raised concerns about pressure to become bigger in order to pass a viability test and two thirds (67%) were worried they would inherit debt from primary care trusts when they take over in 2013.

Dr Michael Dixon, who heads the NHS Alliance, said: “Having a board with other clinical representatives and allowing for audit will be expensive. So the CCGs need to reach a critical mass in terms of size. But there's a risk of ending up recreating the old system of 150 primary care trusts.

“We’re very concerned about the possibility of debts. My GP leaders don’t want to be in the position of decommissioning services.

“It’s been accepted that the CCGs shouldn't inherit deficits. But in practical terms, the squeeze on NHS finances is greater than people realise.”

However, the Department of Health has denied that officials were being prescriptive about the size of CCGs.

A spokesman said: “There are widespread variations in the size and population coverage of PCTs and there is no single ‘right’ size.”

He assured the CCGs they will not be responsible for PCT debt that arose before this current financial year.

 

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