Medicopolitical Digest

Question marks remain over PCGsWaiting lists cannot be abolished but can be improvedGMC's 1999 election

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7162.891 (Published 26 September 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:891

Question marks remain over PCGs

In June GPs' representatives welcomed the government's reassurances on freedom, funding, and control as a result of the establishment of primary care groups (PCGs) (4 July, p 85). But they believe that the NHS Executive's summer guidance on PCGs (HSC 1998/139) issued last month leaves many unanswered questions and will undermine GPs' commitment to the concept.

A motion calling for the implementation date of 1 April 1999 to be delayed was defeated at last week's meeting of the General Practitioners Committee. The committee acknowledged that such a move was impractical as PCGs were part of the flagship policy of the government and any delay carried the risk of a health authority takeover of PCGs. Furthermore, with fundholding and commissioning being run down it would do more harm than good to delay implementation. But speakers at the GPC said that many GPs would be discouraged from taking up the opportunities offered by PCGs. They disliked the tenor of the guidance, which they thought moved away from an agenda of equal partnership between health authorities, PCGs, health professionals, …

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