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Report highlights consortia successes


7 June 2011

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A new report highlighting the achievements of front-running consortia has been launched by the NHS Alliance, a membership organisation representing clinicians and managers in primary care.

In an attempt to hit back at negative reports surrounding GP-led commissioning, Making It Better, written by former Guardian journalist John Carvel, details six case studies concerning savings made and patient care improved at consortia identified by the Alliance.

The report was launched on Thursday at the King's Fund, by Alliance chairman, Dr Mike Dixon.

A new report highlighting the achievements of front-running consortia has been launched by the NHS Alliance, a membership organisation representing clinicians and managers in primary care.

In an attempt to hit back at negative reports surrounding GP-led commissioning, Making It Better, written by former Guardian journalist John Carvel, details six case studies concerning savings made and patient care improved at consortia identified by the Alliance.

The report was launched on Thursday at the King's Fund, by Alliance chairman, Dr Mike Dixon.

"With 50% of admissions comprising those over 80, the population getting larger and having 25% more people over 80 in the next ten years, you begin to see how much of a problem that whole issue of allocating resources is going to be," he said.

"As GPs we should be upping our game and not turning our back on the fantastic amplified role in terms of changing the health of the population and not just the patient in front of us."

On case study detailed efforts made by Nene Commissioning in North Hamptonshire, one of the largest and most mature consortia. It set up Pro Active Care (PAC) to identify patients at risk of emergency admissions keeping them out of hospital by providing services that allow them to remain at home.

Since 2008 more than 2,900 vulnerable people have been admitted to the scheme saving NHS £985,000. The consortia will have to find £40 million 2011/2012 in efficiency savings and in 2013 will have a budget of £900 million transferred to it if the government's bill proceeds as planned.

In Nottinghamshire, Principia, is a consortia which has set up as a social enterprise. Patients have a majority representation on the board and it has control of £200million a year which, under the current arrangements could be withdrawn at any time. This uncertainty of funding is a major trigger for the health bill according to Mr Carvel and NHS Alliance leaders.

Principia have also made efforts at keeping costly admission rates to hospital low by creating a virtual ward in the community to target high-risk patients. 

Chief executive of the King's Fund Chris Ham said that the debate around make or buy, providers and commissioners, needed to be clarified as a complex tendering process may make some GPs "lose enthusiasm" and "walk away".

NHS Future Forum lead Prof Steve Field praised the report saying it was a good example of GPs in primary care and reiterating his belief that clinical commissioning was the way forward. 

He remained tight-lipped about a publication date for his report.

"I can't talk about it, I haven't written the thing yet," he claimed.

WyvernHealth.Com, Somerset, Baywide, Torbay, Healthworks in Birmingham/Sandwell and North East Essex GP Commissioning Group were also covered in the report.

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