Commenting on the Department of Health's figures released today on the uptake of commissioning by GP practices, The King's Fund acting director of policy Dr Richard Lewis said:
'GP practices are starting to engage with commissioning but these figures only show how many practices have taken up initial payments to deliver commissioning. They do not represent how many practices are effectively commissioning services and may not necessarily result in better, more cost-effective services for patients.
'With fewer than half of practices currently taking part in practice based commissioning this is a first step towards better commissioning. However, with figures varying from area to area, much more needs to be done to get GPs fully on board and to fulfil the government's target of 100 per cent engagement by the end of this year.
'A big issue for GP practices is whether they will get to keep the savings they make through good commissioning. It is not clear how, in areas where primary care trusts are in deficit, they will be able to manage the conflicting aims of balancing their budgets and passing on savings to GP commissioners.'
Notes to editors:
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