Over the past few years the number of GP Representatives within the UK has halved with a shift to specialist Key Account Manager (KAM) role selling to local health managers within the 152 PCTs.
Andrew Lansley’s White Paper Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS released yesterday will turn this on its head and hand commissioning power back to GPs, in a similar system to the general practitioner fund-holding scheme introduced by the conservative Major government in 1991.
The Government proposals look to hand 80 per cent of the £105 billion NHS budget to consortia of GPs with an independent NHS commissioning board allocating budgets to these consortia.
Centre-right think tank Civitas states that there is little evidence suggesting GPs will be more effective at commissioning than PCTs. In its report Civitas suggests that the plans could well lead to a dip in NHS performance and wipe out any chance of achieving the £20bn efficiency savings target.
GPs themselves seem to have mixed views regarding the proposals. Whilst many believe this presents an opportunity for clinicians to lead from the front and make a real difference to their patients’ health it is also reported that many practices are not ready and the timeframe for implementation is extremely optimistic.
In the white paper PCTs and SHAs will be scrapped and GPs will have full financial responsibility from April 2013. So over the next couple of years are we about to see a re-emergence of the primary care representative and the number of these jobs increase within the UK.