The King's Fund comment on Department of Health figures on GP commissioning

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: 

  1. For further information or interviews, please contact the King’s Fund media and public relations office on 020 7307 2585, 020 7307 2632 or 020 7307 2581. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 020 7637 0185.
  2. The King’s Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through funding. We are a major resource to people working in health and social care, offering leadership development programmes; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.