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GP reforms to create £1 billion commissioning market

Andrew Lansley’s decision to give GPs responsibility for buying care in England will create a market for commissioning services worth up to £1 billion a year to the private sector, HealthInvestor can reveal.

Management costs in primary care trusts (PCTs) and strategic health authorities (SHAs) currently stand at £1.85 billion a year and, in an email to NHS managers, the health secretary said this figure can be reduced by £850 million by 2013-14 by giving GPs responsibility for the commissioning of care.

Critics of the plan have questioned whether GPs are equipped to manage care budgets, prompting speculation outsourcing firms are set to provide significant levels of support to consortia around the country.

The email makes clear that the Department of Health “will not prescribe exactly how that support is provided,” adding “there is a range of support available for commissioning, including… independent commissioning support organisations… It will be for the consortia to decide what help they need in managing their budget”.

Addressing colleagues, Lansley writes in the email: “I know phasing out PCTs and SHAs is a big step, but I can’t give more control and responsibility to those closest to patients… if I don’t cut back to the tiers of management.”

 

Posted on: 13/07/2010

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