NHS hit by resignations of two CCG chairs

Chairs for Lewisham and Hull said commissioning while continuing their clinical role as family doctors had become unmanageable

Core aspects of of the Government’s health reforms were thrown into doubt this week after two GP commissioners resigned, saying that the demands of their new management roles were compromising their work as doctors.

The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) chairs for both Lewisham and Hull have left their posts, just four months after CCGs were set up around the country. Both departing chairs said the pressures of planning and buying in local health services, while also continuing their clinical role as family doctors, had become unmanageable.

Scrapping local Primary Care Trusts and replacing them with GP-led commissioning groups was one of the key reforms in the Government’s Health and Social Care Act 2012, which led to the biggest re-organisation of the health service in its 65-year history.

However, GPs say that the workload at their practices has “rocketed”, with both increased numbers of patients and additional targets enforced by the new GP contract, which was introduced in April 2013 at the same time as CCGs were established.

Dr Helen Tattersfield has stood down as chair of Lewisham CCG in south London. She told the general practice magazine Pulse that the demands of her commissioning role were “not compatible with good patient care” at her surgery.

In Hull, CCG chair Dr Tony Banerjee stood down last week saying that he had seen increasing pressure on both his role as commissioner and as a GP.

“It is with a really heavy heart I’m having to do it,” he told the Hull Daily Mail. “But it has been so hard juggling my two roles as GP and as CCG chairman…The practice is getting increasingly busy…I just don’t have time to do both and I am a GP first and foremost.”

GPs have warned the Government that their profession is “in crisis” with increasing pressures from an ageing population meaning that waits for a routine appointment have grown longer and longer. Pressure has been ratcheted up by changes to the GP contract, introduced in April, requiring practices to sign up to providing extra services – including screening for dementia – in order to receive their full funding package.

Family doctors say the changes have left them doing more work for the same amount of funding. Now signs are appearing that the CCG model, which is dependent on GPs having time to devote to commissioning services, may be under threat.

 “Chair commitments are rather unpredictable and tend to migrate into days that should be clinical and expectation is to attend meetings at very short notice which is not compatible with good patient care as it can require cancelling surgeries,” said Dr Tattersfield.

In April, a third CCG chair, Dr Chandra Kanneganti, who led commissioning in Stoke, resigned the role saying he did not want to compromise patient care at his surgery.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Association’s GP committee, said that, while the CCG model was a good one, the resignations were indicators of the intense pressure GPs everywhere were under.

“This symbolises a far wider issue not just affecting CCG chairs but GPs in general, who are incurring an escalating workload meaning they have to focus on their practice and have less ability to engage and spend time on the commissioning agenda,” he told The Independent.

“Our view is that the government should reduce unnecessary workload in general practice. We believe the contract changes this year have added considerably to bureaucracy and added a new tier or targets within general practice. We want to work with government to reduce that burden so GPs have more time for patients and for their commissioning duties."

An NHS England spokesman said: “We do not want to increase the workload of GPs, but rather encourage GPs to work differently to meet patient needs... The recent contract changes change the way GPs are rewarded for the care they offer.

"Instead of being rewarded extra for routine office functions like record keeping, GPs are rewarded for steps that directly support and benefit patients, for example, better control of blood pressure and cholesterol, to prevent heart attacks and stroke and assessing patients at risk from dementia.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: "Our changes to the GP contract were put in place to help save lives and make sure care for people with long term conditions will continue to improve. Where possible, our changes were specifically designed to help practices manage workload at the same time as improving patient care. However, we know that GPs are under pressure, which is why we have asked Health Education England to aim to get 50 per cent of medical students to become GPs.”

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
News
Robyn Lawley
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Arts and Entertainment
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint)
newsBloomsbury unveils new covers for JK Rowling's wizarding series
News
scienceScientists try to explain the moon's funny shape
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
As Loki in The Avengers (2012)
filmRead Tom Hiddleston's email to Joss Whedon on prospect of playing Loki
Voices
voices In defence of the charcoal-furred feline, by Felicity Morse
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior IT Trainer - Buckinghamshire - £250 - £350 p/d

£200 - £300 per day: Ashdown Group: IT Trainer - Marlow, Buckinghamshire - £25...

Education Recruitment Consultant- Learning Support

£18000 - £30000 per annum + Generous commission scheme: AER Teachers: Thames T...

All Primary NQT's

£100 - £120 per day + per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Description Calling a...

Supply Teachers Needed in Thetford

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Supply teachers neede...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star