Prime Minister David Cameron, who met the first wave of GP commissioners at Downing Street this week, has also addressed ‘some myths’ around GP commissioning.
Speaking to GPs at the launch of the GP Pathfinder Learning Network, Mr Lansley said their enthusiasm was ‘making the modernisation of the NHS a reality, so we can deliver better care for patients’.
‘During the coming months it is vital that we share information, ideas and best practice, and address any issues that may arise straight away. That’s why we are launching the Pathfinder Learning Network – to assist and support you through this period of change and to help us to learn from each other.’ Mr Lansley added.
The National Leadership Council, working in collaboration with the NHS Institute, is also offering leaders of GP pathfinders and their teams access to a number of development tools, including personal and team coaching, to support them in the transition to the new system.
Mr Cameron said it was a myth that GP consortia will be ‘forced’ to use the private sector to help them commission services for patients:
‘Nothing could be further from the truth. Already, the new GP pathfinder consortia are working with the best staff in primary care trusts and strategic health authorities to ensure their skills and talents are put to use in the new system.
‘But what we also want is for GPs to be free to get help from anyone they decide they need it from. In Cumbria, for example, GPs work alongside local charities to help ensure services are best able to meet the needs of their patients. That is precisely the sort of innovation we want to enable all over the country. GPs will be able to work with anyone they wish, from specialists in hospitals to nurses in primary care.’
The Prime Minister also said that it was ‘not true’ that commissioning will mean GPs spending their time on paperwork and negotiations instead of treating patients.
‘GP consortia will be given the resources they need to secure the support and expertise to perform the extra managerial and administrative functions,’ he said.
‘Our plans simply mean the responsibility for clinical decisions, and for the financial consequences of those decisions, will be brought together. GPs commission care already, and they know best what their patients want, so it makes sense for them to have more control and responsibility.’
Some 170 GPs, consortia managers and nurses attended the Network launch where they were able to share their opinions on key issues, discuss priorities for emerging consortia and hear updates on new developments.