Could giving GPs more power prove risky?

The coalition government plan to give GPs greater control of the NHS Budgets which are currently controlled by 152 primary care trusts.

According to a number of influential MPs the change of hands in the control of budgets, having been sprung on the NHS with little warning could result in destabilising the service. A recent report by the cross-party health select committee today warns that the policy introduces ‘significant institutional upheaval’ into the NHS during already difficult times. Difficult to say the least with the NHS trying to achieve savings of £15-20bn by 2014, see more Nicholson Challenge.

The report reads: “At a time when the Nicholson Challenge should focus NHS senior management on the need to deliver unprecedented gains in efficiencies to meet savings targets, we have been dealt a blow which could cause widespread uncertainty about the Government’s true intentions. Beyond the effects this will have on management morale, the committee believes this will have the effect of blunting the ability of the NHS as a whole to respond to the Nicholson Challenge.”

Diffusing the responsibility for budgets across hundreds of GP-led groups from the care trusts is likely to result in the talent for commissioning which is already in short supply, being spread more thinly.

We will have to wait and see how this pans out, the government’s plans for the NHS, including the move to GP led commissioning is to be set out in the Health Bill shortly. Which I have no doubt will be subject to a very fine tooth comb.