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ICB engagement with primary care is worse than CCGs, survey finds

ICB engagement with primary care is worse than CCGs, survey finds
By Beth Gault
4 July 2024

Exclusive: ICB engagement with primary care is worse than it was with CCGs, according to PCN clinical directors (CDs), a survey has found.

The survey, published in our sister title Pulse PCN’s State of Primary Care: A PCN Evaluation report, found that 54% of CDs surveyed disagreed that commissioner engagement was better with ICBs than with CCGs, with 41% of those strongly disagreeing.

In a separate question, 46% of CDs said their ICB was highly engaged with primary care, but 33% disagreed or strongly disagreed with this.

This was also felt among GP respondents, as only 11% said the ICB was highly engaged with primary care while 58% believed engagement had got worse with the introduction of ICBs.

Business and digital manager at Whitfield PCN, Seema Gater, said it felt ICBs were not overly concerned with what is happening at the grassroots level.

GP and practice lead at North East Derbyshire PCN, Dr Steven Rossi, said in the report that ICBs were ‘distant’, leaving PCNs feeling like they have little influence on policy decisions.

While a majority (83%) of CDs in the PCN survey said they knew who represents primary care at their ICB, 63% said they disagreed that ICBs would ensure more funding would be directed into primary care.

A similar number (64%) of GPs also said they disagreed that the creation of ICBs would mean more primary care funding.

This concern was highlighted when ICBs were initially created, with a report from our sister title Healthcare Leader demonstrating a concern among healthcare professionals over a loss of clinical leadership and a diminishing influence of primary care.

The survey also found that over half of PCN CDs believe PCNs have improved patient access to primary care.

To read the full report click here.

The State of Primary Care survey took place between April 29 and May 20 2024 across Pulse PCN and our parent and sister titles, Pulse, Healthcare Leader, Nursing in Practice, The Pharmacist, Management in Practice and Hospital Pharmacy Europe.

There were 1,795 responses from health professionals. The majority – 72% or 1,294 – of respondents work in primary care in England. There were answers from across England with all 42 ICBs represented.

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