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Lib Dems would move GP commissioning to HWBs


24 September 2014

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GP services should be commissioned by health and wellbeing boards (HWBs), the Liberal Democrats believe. 
A paper released by the party in the run up to the general election claims that HWBs should be able to expand their role and have “wider responsibility” for local services. 
The Liberal Democrats claim that the current arrangement “makes no sense” and that it will be much better for patients, residents and local services if GP services were commissioned locally. 

GP services should be commissioned by health and wellbeing boards (HWBs), the Liberal Democrats believe. 
A paper released by the party in the run up to the general election claims that HWBs should be able to expand their role and have “wider responsibility” for local services. 
The Liberal Democrats claim that the current arrangement “makes no sense” and that it will be much better for patients, residents and local services if GP services were commissioned locally. 
The paper, which was seen by the Local Government Chronicle ahead of the autumn party conference, states: “Where [HWBs] are able to demonstrate robust and democratically accountable governance, we would like to see them taking over NHS England’s responsibility for commissioning GPs in their area, and potentially wider responsibility for local services.
“Some are already developing along these lines.” 
The policy would see GP commissioning localised without the potential conflicts of interest of clinical commissioning groups taking on the responsibility. 
New legislation would be required to make the change, as HWBs cannot currently hold a budget. 
A long-awaited report from the Barker Commission said that having a single health and social care commissioner would simplify the system and make it easier for patients to access. 
The report suggested that the role could be taken on by health and wellbeing boards, but said more research had to be done to uncover whether this is the best course of action. 

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