New GP pathfinders announced

The latest groups of GPs to take on commissioning responsibilities have been announced by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley. There are now 177 GP commissioning consortia covering two thirds of the country and 35 million people.

The selected pathfinders represent GPs who have demonstrated readiness to start taking on commissioning responsibilities and putting in place health services that achieve better health outcomes for their patients.

As a big step towards delivering the plans set out in the Health and Social Care Bill, the groups will work together to help manage local budgets and purchase services for patients directly with other NHS colleagues and local authorities.

Where emerging consortia have been formed, patients are already benefiting from local commissioning and healthcare services tailored to their needs.

For example, the Barking and Dagenham Quality Care Consortium identified ophthalmology as an area where they could redesign services for the benefit of patients and to bring care closer to home. Working together with consultants from their local acute trust and the primary care trust, they are developing a community-based ophthalmology service. This will allow GPs and optometrists to refer patients directly to the new service, reducing patient waiting times and avoidable hospital referrals.

In Richmond, GPs have identified a need for more responsive community services to avoid unnecessary acute admissions. Working together with their local community services provider, they are providing intensive support to patients in their own homes and have jointly designed a rapid response community team to get back to patients within two hours of contact.

From the first and second wave of pathfinders, there are a number of further examples of innovative local commissioning:

  • In Bexley, GPs have put in place a new service that cuts the waiting time to obtain a diagnosis for coronary heart disease from up to nine months to as little as three weeks. The service uses a clinic in Harley Street to provide cutting edge scans, which are cheaper and safer than alternative diagnostic treatments.
  • In Nottinghamshire, GPs have improved care for the 4,000 diabetics in their region. By providing specialist support in local clinics in GP practices, the service avoids diabetics having to be treated in hospital.
  • In Redbridge, GPs send patients with skin problems to a local GP who specialises in them, meaning that patients can go to a local surgery, instead of having to travel further afield.
  • In Reading, GPs have organised a new service for people with back pain where physiotherapists treat patients in their own home.
  • In Somerset, GPs have organised oxygen therapy for people with breathing difficulties in their own homes which helps keep patients healthy and out of hospital.
  • In Croydon, GPs have organised diagnostic services – such as ultrasound – in their local GP practices. This means that patients are seen quicker, nearer to their homes, and can avoid travelling to hospital.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘This is a truly bottom-up response, as demonstrated by the varying shape and size of the GP pathfinder groups. The speed of uptake is also highly encouraging. It demonstrates significant will on the part of GPs and nurses to get on with designing and purchasing NHS services, so that outcomes can improve for patients.’

GP pathfinders will be supported by the National Clinical Commissioning Network, the National Leadership Council, and by national primary care bodies, such as the Royal College of GPs’ Centre for Commissioning.

>> See full list of GP pathfinder consortia

In Commissioning, News, Pathfinder Learning Network | Tagged , , ,

8 Responses to New GP pathfinders announced

  1. Ian Robathan says:

    Hi there,

    Is there a list of which doctors belong to which consortia so we can search for that ?

    In the current pathfinder list I can see no contact details for the consortia, can this be provided ?

    • Jennie Fergusson, Department of Health says:

      Thank you for your query. We don’t hold information about which practices belong to each consortium, as the Department doesn’t require this information to support the development of the pathfinder consortia. This information is held by the strategic health authorities.

      We are unable to provide contact details for consortia on the site as we have agreed not to share this publicly and it would be in breach of data protection policies. As the consortia develop, this is something that will be available through their own websites.

  2. Jas Dosanjh says:

    The term “GP Pathfinder”, I am thinking is another term for a GP Consortia. If it is then why do we keep introducing jargon upon jargon and not just stick to terms we are all familair with and understand. Just when you get use to one term, another one pops up.
    Sometimes it is the little things that make the biggest differences. However If I have got the wrong end of the stick then I apologise.

    • web editor says:

      Thanks for your comment.

      You’re right that GP pathfinders are GP consortia. But pathfinders are the consortia who are taking the lead in implementing the new commissioning roles, so there is a difference between the two terms. The pathfinders will test concepts, themes and functions.

      There are a number of new terms associated with the changes to the health and care system – see our A to Z of modernisation.

  3. DaveM says:

    Can I obtain information on the approval process for these pathfinder consortia and the documentation submitted?

    I presume that any and all such documents (including any emails between SHAs and PCTs regarding this) are available under the FOI?

    Have these consortia registered a Controller of Data as required under the Data Protection Act – if not, under what basis do they have access to any information for patients they do not directly provide care for?

  4. Des McConaghy says:

    I still cannot see any official record of an established GP Consortium for Liverpool – whereas your site records three for Wirral and one for South Sefton. The Minister is now making available some £400 million for the talking therapies and for the re-engineering of mental health strategies. It would be tragic if the most deprived and needy areas – -and where young male suicide rates are actually increasing – were to loose out due to the current re-organisation process.

  5. jake rawlings says:

    Hello there im doing some research into GP consortiums in the sussex area to enable my organisation to make appropriate links with them around service provision. We are a civil society/third sector organisation, I have been able to find contacts for consortiums in east and west sussex but nothing for brighton and hove. Do you have any info on consortiums in the brighton area ? thank you for your time

  6. Dr S Karthi says:

    1. Once the ultrasound and dermatology is provided in a GP Surgery I begin to wonder if a system is in place to introduce future innovations, quality, audit and the like.I feel there is a danger the service may drop in comparison with international standards.
    2. Community Physiotherapy is already available for needy patients.Once again I look at this akin to Mobile Car Mechanic coming home to atart my car.My car is so old it needs to go to the garaGE FOR A MAJOR OVERHAUL!!