Reflections from colleagues

Dr Shane GordonDr Shane Gordon, GP in Colchester and chief executive of the North East Essex GP Commissioning Group, on how GP commissioners might work with other colleagues and the importance of clinical networks.

This week I’ve been lucky enough to meet a number of other stakeholder groups to talk about what the reforms will mean for them.

I spoke alongside John Black at a regional visit of the College of Surgeons. About 60 surgical colleagues attended. I was encouraged by the rational tone of the debate, away from the lurid media headlines. There was recognition of the challenges ahead – they even knew what QIPP stood for! Also, there was a welcoming of greater clinical leadership in commissioning. I assured them that GPs weren’t going to rush off redesigning surgical pathways without specialist input.

The main anxieties were around the potential impact of competition on the quality of services.  It is interesting to see this week that Circle have decided to test the tension between access to the market and the role of commissioners in controlling the use of resources by referring two PCTs to the Co-operation and Competition Panel. The outcome of this will tell us much about the future role of commissioners, I suspect.

Later in the week I had the pleasure of speaking to colleagues from local optometry committees across the region. They were keen to understand the new relationships and particularly how they might work together to help commissioners use best practice models to deliver more productive services.

From both meetings the importance of clinical networks came through. Their ability to identify best practice and influence providers’ behaviour through peer pressure and quality monitoring will be very useful to commissioners and should serve patients well.

In Conversations, Pathfinder Learning Network, Shane Gordon | Tagged , , ,

6 Responses to Reflections from colleagues

  1. Jon Sacker says:


    You have certainly been busy. This may seem a pedestrian question, but is being Chair of the Commissioning Group a full-time role for you and if not how much of your time is it taking up?


    • Dr. Shane Gordon says:

      Dear John

      I work for the GP Consortium part time but I expect this commitment to increase as we near Authorisation.


  2. Shane,
    I’m sure that away from the media far more sensible discussions are being had. In a way I don’t envy you having to understand the nuances of how each specialty works: do you think that GPCCs will manage better than PCTs did in this regard (admittedly a low bar to clear) or should commissioning involve much more secondary care input?
    Bernard Stacey

    • Dr. Shane Gordon says:

      Dear Bernard

      Clearly we will want specialist input into the commissioning of services. The challenge will be for specialists to give their input in the context of population health, not just their own area of interest. I hope that we will be able to work together to achieve this.


  3. Sarah Dalton says:

    Hi Dr Gordon
    Won’t GP Consortia need to work with hospital clinicians locally together so the 80% of the NHS Budget the White Paper envisages handing over to your groups is put to best use for all patients? Are there any more plans for dialogue, accountability and transparency?
    S Dalton

    • Shane Gordon says:

      Dear Sarah

      I agree that we will have to work with many other groups of experts to make sure that we get the best from the resources available. This will doubtless include hospitals, community providers, mental health trusts, social services and the voluntary sector. The Authorisation process will test the models for doing this in each consortium.

      In terms of Accountability and Transparency, GP consortia will be statutory bodies and subject to the same degree of public scrutiny as PCTs. They will be accountable to the NHS Commissioning Board and their local population. Again the Authorisation process will test how GP consortia will discharge their duty of transparency and local accountability.

      Both these issues are under consideration by the NHS Futures Group and further detail on them will follow in due course.



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