Support to manage conflicts of interest for CCGs when commissioning primary care

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CoI logosNHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC), the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the British Medical Association (BMA) have come together to support CCGs to manage conflicts of interest when they take up proposals to commission primary care (General Practice) in 2015.

The ability for CCGs to become involved in the commissioning of General Practice has the potential to bring many benefits to patient care, but it also brings with it the potential for perceived and actual conflicts of interest when CCGs are procuring services from their member practices. If these are not tackled early on they could limit a commissioner’s abilities to develop and deliver new models of care for the benefits of patients and their local populations.

The three organisations have developed a set of shared principles which are launched today as part of the updated official NHS England guidance for CCGs on managing conflicts of interest.

Dr Amanda Doyle, co-chair of NHSCC and Chief Clinical Officer for NHS Blackpool CCG said: “Our members recognise that potential conflicts of interest will occur when CCGs commission primary care, but they are manageable. As long as CCGs are working to their strategic commissioning plans and have the recommended checks and balances in place when they procure services, then the rationale for what and how they are commissioning from member practices will withstand scrutiny.”

“Developing these shared principles with the RCGP and BMA sends out an important message that the primary care and general practice sector are committed to making the co-commissioning agenda work and that we are working together for our patients and local populations”

Dr Maureen Baker, chair of the RCGP said “Our successful campaign “Put Patients First – Back General Practice” has identified the need to invest in General Practice. There is now mounting support to deliver more resources to the front line services delivered by General Practice and wider primary care.”

“The RCGP sees “co-commissioning” as an important vehicle to target resources where they are needed. There is of course significant potential for conflicts of interest to arise. This document which we have jointly written with the NHS Clinical Commissioners and the BMA shows that these potential conflicts are manageable and shouldn’t be seen as a barrier to commissioning high quality care in a local context.”

BMA GP committee chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said: “It is vital that CCGs command the confidence of their members and that their decisions are in the best interests of patients. This is crucially important when those decisions revolve around the commissioning of services or investments that affect member GP practices. It is vital that robust governance arrangements that safeguard against perceived or actual conflicts of interest.

“CCG member practices also need assurance that decisions affecting them are transparent and fair and this document with RCGP and NHSCC sets out our collective principles to support that.”

Download the below to read our shared principles in full.

18 December 2015

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