Oxfordshire, United Kingdom (PressExposure) March 17, 2011 -- There is an almost universal recognition that GP led commissioning needs to be developed quickly and robustly - a view shared by the GMC, BMA, the King's Fund and RCGP in announcements they have made in recent weeks.
The aim of the new initiative is to bring together the best commissioning practices and techniques from across the NHS in a single resource from which GP consortia can draw.
PCT staff are also being invited to participate through an initiative called [http://www.pctlegacy.co.uk], which will be launched formally in April. Much of the reference material will be taken from individual PCT projects created under the World Class Commissioning (WCC) Assurance programme which ran from 2008 to 2010, essentially a £1 billion R&D initiative in which 152 PCTs spent around £3 million each over three years. Other work by PCTs will be included.
The WCC programme had its critics - the House of Commons Health Committee report of March 2010, for example. But it remains the one substantial and common body of knowledge which exists on NHS commissioning and the single best resource on which consortia can build. As PCTs shed staff and cluster in the next few weeks, there is the real threat of a shrinking commissioning skills base and the loss of corporate memory.
PCTs are being asked to help identify their best work which can be picked up by GP consortia and developed in the future in a genuine wiki environment. The launch of the website focuses in the first instance on the 2011/12 National Contracts activity which needs to be completed this month. PCTs who believe they have framed the best contracts and schedules in particular are being invited to share their work with others by posting them on the commissioning community website.
This year's DH Operating Framework published in December also suggested that GP consortia should get involved for the first time this year. The wiki-ing opportunity will also improve engagement by GPs who find it difficult to attend meetings. Future contracts will be developed online for the benefit of all commissioners. The 2012/13 contracting round will in any case benefit from a new DH requirement for all contracts to be published by PCTs. The new site will provide this facility and create a real opportunity for raising contracting standards as PCTs and GP consortia work to develop their provider contracts for the 2012/13 'shadow' year for GP consortia commissioning.
Who are we?
Finally, who are we? The answer is that we do not exist as any formal organisation. The initiative is being led by me, Roger Hymas, and supported by other private individuals. I've worked as an adviser to over 30 PCTs over the past five years and helped many with their commissioning development. I've been managing director of Bupa, Director of Commissioning for NHS Hampshire and worked on commissioning projects for nearly 20 years on both sides of the Atlantic.
We also are grateful for the seed money and services from Sitekit Solutions Ltd (www.sitekit.net), the leading supplier of website resources to NHS organisations.
When the site gets established, we'll solicit the views of interested parties as to how the initiative should be developed, incorporated and funded. We're currently looking for sponsors and advertisers to help with our costs. One opportunity which we are considering is whether we should operate as a social enterprise. After you've had the chance to review the website we look forward to hearing your opinions.