The proposed changes to NHS budget allocation, which would see GP’s managing much of the current £100bn NHS budget, is planned to promote accountability and improve care outcome. Management will possibly be supported by an independent board, with some contribution from managers, especially for specialist services. The independent board may be formed from members of the current NHS management board which sits in the Department of Health, and there are thoughts that their remit could be responsible for over viewing the health service.
GP’s and patients are waiting attentively to see what the White paper on this will detail. In principle, The British Medical Association has announced it is willing and capable to meet this new responsibility and certainly GP’s are in the optimum position to recognise front line needs. However some critics and GPs have mixed feelings, and wonder if this new proposal may take a long time to implement effectively, and fear in some circumstances it could compromise the doctor patient relationship. Others appreciate the opportunity to contribute to strategy, planning and commissioning.
This seems a sensible and confident decision – which should put front-line health professionals in the position of front-line health management, giving the opportunity to utilise a diverse range of skills and accumulated experience. This should enhance services needed in the community and hospitals, help to remove unnecessary political constraints and potentially even save money. Considering the negative attitude that many have held for a long time regarding some ineffectual yet highly paid managers and suffocating bureaucracy, it should be a welcome change. However, some have concerns of whether enough GP’s currently have the necessary skill base to ideally manage vast sums of money, manage competitive contracts, and if there will be enough suitable interest in every region to ensure equally efficient consortia are created nationally, which, if not, could mean lack of parity and inequality for patients. Certainly theses are possible types of issues which could be addressed early on to promote confidence and give it the best chance of success. The White paper on this is due for release today and will outline the details. Let’s hope this will have wide sweeping benefits to health care and to reducing less than well spent funds; surely the best way forward must be to have front – line medical staff involved in management and strategy at this level and to drive plans for future health care needs. This will be a step in the right direction, although the path to optimum efficiency may be long.
Quality and Sustainability – Iseult Roche