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GP Consortia Network planned

The RCGP and the NHS Confederation are working to explore setting up a network to support and represent GP commissioning consortia in England

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the NHS Confederation are working together to explore setting up a network to support and represent new GP commissioning consortia in England.

The GP Commissioning Consortia Network, a working title, will harness the considerable experience and influence of the two organisations to:
• Represent the views of GP commissioning organisations and advocate on their behalf – listening to their needs, forming responses and ensuring their voices are heard at key stages of policy development and implementation
• Inform and influence the development of healthcare policy to help ensure that new and existing initiatives lead to real improvements in the system and genuine advancements in patient care
• Support commissioning organisations to deliver strong and innovative leadership to the NHS – providing unique insight, analysis and guidance on national healthcare policy and its implementation and offering a valuable forum for commissioners to come together to discuss ideas and share learning
• Provide fresh thinking and help shape the wider healthcare debate so that commissioners can define the future agenda and assess long-term challenges and solutions.

Its responsibilities will include advocacy, policy support, sharing of good practice and events, and leading the wider debate on commissioning.

The two lead organisations are now undertaking market testing to ensure that the proposed new body accurately reflects the emerging needs of GPs and NHS staff involved in creating the new commissioning bodies.

RCGP chair, Dr Clare Gerada said: "The White Paper offers many opportunities – and many challenges – for health professionals, and the new world of commissioning takes us into previously unchartered waters.

"Commissioning consortia will need a body that represents their views and acts as their collective voice. The RCGP and NHS Confederation, with our individual but complementary expertise, are best placed to provide this support."

Nigel Edwards, acting chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: "The new world of the NHS set out in the White Paper means a radical new agenda for GPs working together in commissioning consortia. Bringing commissioners and providers together will allow us to combine our strengths and offer practical and beneficial services to new commissioning organisations."

On Monday, November 22 the RCGP announced the appointment of Neil Hunt as its new chief executive. He takes up the appointment in January 2011. Most recently, he was chief executive of Alzheimer's Society, where he led an impressive programme of change, raising the public profile of the organisation, increasing its influence with Government and its revenue from £27m to £59m.

In 2002, he was seconded to the Home Office and then to the Department of Education, where he led several strategic initiatives and prior to that he spent 11 years at leading children's charity the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) in various senior roles.

24th November 2010

From: Healthcare

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