23 JUL 2010

Meeting with Ann James, head of NHS Devon

Formerly Devon PCT, but now NHS Devon, this is the PCT that commissions services for half of the Totnes Constituency. Rather confusingly, anyone living in the area covered by Torbay council will come under a different Trust.

I met with Ann to discuss the White Paper and the current commissioning arrangements. With so much uncertainty ahead for PCTs the challenge will be in managing the transition from PCT to GP led commissioning. There will be a great need for experienced staff from PCTs to support GP commissioning and to help ensure that the teams in place to take over from PCTs have the expertise to manage complex budgets, demand and fairness of distribution. It would be a wasted opportunity and undermine the credibility of GP commissioning if GPs failed to engage with the process and merely handed over to private commissioners.

My concern is how we will manage to control demand fairly and within limited resources. Who and at what stage will someone, somewhere have to turn down a demand to be referred or treated?

There are many unanswered questions about the nature of GP commissioning and I am glad to have the opportunity to sit on the Health Select Committee to be able to press for answers to the many questions that need answering on this subject. If you have any thoughts on the White Paper and GP commissioning, please get in touch.

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