GP’s and health budgets – a confident step in the right direction

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

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About Julia Manning

Julia Manning is a social entrepreneur, writer, campaigner and commentator. She is based in London and is the founder and Chief Executive of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal. Through networking, technology, research, relationships and campaigning 2020health has influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. Julia studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991. Her career has included being a visiting lecturer at City University, a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital, working with south London Primary Care Trusts and as a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. She specialised in diabetes (University of Warwick Certificate in Diabetic Care) and founded Julia Manning Eyecare in 2004, a home and prison visiting practice for people with mental and physical disabilities using the latest digital technology, which she sold to Healthcall (now part of Specsavers) in 2009. Experiences of working in the NHS, contributing to policy development, raising two children in the inner-city and standing in the General Election in Bristol in 2005 led to Julia forming 2020health at the end of 2006. Julia is a regular guest on TV and radio shows such as BBC News, ITV’s Daybreak/ GMB, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions, BBC Radio, LBC and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week. She is mum to a rugby-mad son, a daughter passionate about Shakespeare, and wife of a comprehensive school assistant head-teacher. She loves gardening, ballet, Zimbabwe, her Westies Skye and Angus, is an honorary research associate at UCL and a Fellow of the RSA.
This entry was posted in Andrew Lansley, Department of Health, Finance, GPs, NHS, Policy, Public Health. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to GP’s and health budgets – a confident step in the right direction

  1. Re: “some have concerns of whether enough GP’s currently have the necessary skill base to ideally manage vast sums of money, manage competitive contracts..”

    People seem to forget that GP’s have managed their own internal budgets successfully as private subcontractors to the NHS for nigh on 60 years – they are well placed to manage patient care budgets from their intimate knowledge on a local level also, as proved in the old fundholding schemes.
    Many GPs are already involved in PBC work, competing for targets and quality markers; so I feel the comments regarding concern about GPs ability to get more involved in the NHS budget are rather unfounded.
    I am sure on a national level the high fliers will emerge to lead us on a regional level to achieve the highest standards required – look what has happened with QOF – GPs were underestimated in their ability to prove their value in QOF also.

  2. Gaye says:

    People seem to forget that GP’s have managed their own internal budgets successfully as private subcontractors to the NHS for nigh on 60 years – they are well placed to manage patient care budgets from their intimate knowledge on a local level also, as proved in the old fundholding schemes.Many GPs are already involved in PBC work, competing for targets and quality markers; so I feel the comments regarding concern about GPs ability to get more involved in the NHS budget are rather unfounded.I am sure on a national level the high fliers will emerge to lead us on a regional level to achieve the highest standards required – look what has happened with QOF – GPs were underestimated in their ability to prove their value in QOF also.
    +1

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