As of this April, 91% of CCGs now have delegated responsibility for primary medical care. It’s doubtful whether a majority of them are fully prepared to discharge that responsibility, however. Not only will many lack the expertise and experience to take day to day decisions about the contracts they hold for general practice services, the contracting portfolios they have inherited from NHS England may be incomplete, out of date and poorly documented.
Most CCGs are now delegated, which means they have inherited responsibility for primary medical care contracts from NHS England. Unfortunately they haven’t all inherited an up-to-date schedule of contracts or complete paperwork for every provider.
What makes a successful merger? Paul Burns, PCC’s lead for practice mergers, pauses: “Meeting the aspirations you had at the start of the journey,” he says.
It’s not the answer you might expect because the merger process is complex, time-consuming and often fraught with hidden obstacles. So much so that the process can start to get confused with the outcome.
Practice mergers are often driven by necessity but provide the opportunity for CCGs and their members to think beyond the legal formalities and start to address problems of workload and workforce. The latest edition of Commissioning Excellence considers the steps to successful mergers, including what happens after the ink dries on the deal when arguably the real work begins. In related articles we consider why and how practices should claim a seat at the table with their local STP/ICS and Dr Mike Smith advises GP federations on how to avoid an early grave. Plus we look at the Health Education England rotating paramedic programme and a referral management system developed by a group of Leicestershire CCGs and their practices.