High-quality commissioning of general practice is key to ensuring that health services meet the needs of local populations. But GPs must now acquire sophisticated commissioning skills following the renewed commitment to GP-led budget holding. The quality of commissioning is central therefore to driving improvement in local health care.

Related document: Improving the quality of GP commissioning services

What did we explore?

To inform its work, the Inquiry panel asked for a discussion paper to examine what good-quality commissioning looks like and how it can be measured. Improving the quality of GP commissioning services assesses the challenges commissioners face, identifies the factors and tools that are particularly relevant to commissioning effective general practice, and suggests what can be done to address weaknesses in general practice commissioning. The paper's authors are Tim Jones, an independent consultant and Chief Officer, Newham Health Partnership, and Julie Wood, National Director, Clinical Commissioning Federation NHS Alliance.

What have we learnt about commissioning GP services?

Key issues raised for debate include:

  • The particular issues when commissioning GP services from a large number of independent general practice providers.
  • How PCTs can best monitor general practice performance against contracts.
  • What levers are available to commissioners when addressing the issue of variation in the quality of general practice care.
  • The potential role of GP-led commissioning in driving quality improvement.

What's your view?

During the inquiry, we asked for your opinions on this care dimension. You can read the comments submitted below.

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Student Nurse,
Comment date
17 August 2010
Although in theory a good idea, I don't believe GPs are equpiped to provide commissioning service. They would need the skills to do this. Furthermore, if GPs become involved in this, would it not take them away from their main role - that is providing good quality care and continuity for their patients?