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26-10-2010 | General practice | Article

GPs urged: federate before PCT cull


RCGP – Primary Care Federations Toolkit

GP practices should federate before Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) are dismantled, or risk going under, the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) is warning.

A toolkit for setting up federations, launched this week by the College, stresses that financial and strategic support from PCTs will be critical to federations' success. In particular, it says that once GP consortia are in place it will be harder for GPs to get financial support owing to potential conflicts of interest.

The Primary Care Federations Toolkit was developed by the RCGP in partnership with the King's Fund, The Nuffield Trust, and Hempsons Solicitors. It offers a complete practical guide on federating, which it says strengthens GPs' ability to bid for services and compete with private firms, integrate services and undertake training and clinical governance.

RCGP Chairman Professor Steve Field said that the College believes federations are still the way to go, even now the government plans to introduce GP commissioning consortia.

"We believe that federations, as providers of services, can work well alongside consortia, and that there are considerable opportunities for federations to maximise benefits for patients," he commented.

Candace Imison, Deputy Director of Policy at The King's Fund, who co-authored the report, said: "While the guidance is directed towards practices coming together to deliver services, much of it will be relevant and of value to those coming together to form GP commissioning consortia."

GP News is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Caroline Price