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.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
All British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
Arts and Entertainment
One of the installations in the Reiner Ruthenbeck exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery
artCritics defend Reiner Ruthenbeck's 'Overturned Furniture'
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

Opilio Recruitment: QA Automation Engineer

£30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game