GPs control their budget

BASSETLAW’S family doctors are among the first in the country to spearhead NHS changes that puts frontline GPs in charge of their budget.

Bassetlaw’s Clinicial Commissioning Group will succeed the Primary Care Trust in becoming a statutory body responsible for a budget of around £140 million.

The Bassetlaw CCG is an ‘umbrella’ organisation made up on local GPs - who claim that Worksop patients will benefit from the changes.

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CCG chairmain Dr Steve Kell, who also works as a GP at Worksop’s Larwood Surgery said that he welcomed the initiative.

‘’These are exciting times for Bassetlaw with frontline clinicians being asked to take a strong leadership role,” he said.

“We are committed to working with patients and other organisations locally to provide the best healthcare possible for Bassetlaw residents, and although our name is changing the organisation will stay the same, focusing on clinical priorities and improving local services.”

Dr Kell added: “We are really pleased to be in the first national wave for assessment and this reflects the progress we have made working closely with the PCT and local people.’’

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An NHS spokesman said that Bassetlaw GPs will now be responsible for making sure that Bassetlaw people can access safe and high quality healthcare, including hospital and community services.

The spokesman continued: “They will make key decisions, supported by NHS managers. They won’t be responsible for their own contracts or other primary care services, such as dentists, pharmacists and optometrists, as responsibility for those services will lie with the new national NHS Commissioning Board.”

Worksop resident Elizabeth Hawker Nicholson said that she was pleased with the decision.

“Local GP’s know what local people need which means we’re not as much of a statistic,” she said. “It’s worth a try.”

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Bassetlaw District Councillor Graham Oxby however, is suspicious of the idea.

“I’ve got serious doubts about this,” he said. “If GPs are allowed to commission services, then there’s nothing stopping a group of them from forming themselves into a private company and bidding for work.”

“This could lead to GPs having a vested interest in commissioning and feathering their own nests at the expense of the NHS and taxpayer.”

He added: “It’s a very serious and deep-rooted problem.”

l What do YOU think of local GPs controlling their own budget? Get in touch and let us know.