Can GP commissioners improve the delivery of patient care?

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Clinical commissioning groups can now plan and provide primary care services, causing concern among other medical bodies

Since April, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have been allowed to take on extra responsibility for commissioning primary care services – generating controversy about whether GPs may profit from their decisions.

The new powers for GP co-commissioning enable CCGs to take over responsibility for planning and providing local primary care services, except for dental, optical and pharmacy. But the British Medical Association, the doctors’ body, and the Patients Association have both expressed concerns that there is a risk the changes may harm the doctor-patient relationship if some GPs are seen to be – or even suspected of – profiting from CCG decisions.

Under reforms introduced by the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, NHS England was originally given responsibility for commissioning primary care services and monitoring GPs’ contracts. Doctors and local NHS managers agreed…

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