Primary Care Groups (PCGs) will not reduce NHS management costs in their first few years according to a report by The King’s Fund.
The report, Total Purchasing. A Step Towards Primary Care Groups,
said more time and money will have to be invested in PCGs if they are to succeed.
The groups will need support from health authorities and will have to invest in good management as well as expensive information technology equipment.
PCGs were among the reforms to the NHS internal market announced last year.
The report also revealed that while similar schemes announced in the same White Paper, including Total Purchasing Pilots, were able to bring about changes to local services in their first year, their effectiveness varied.
Lead author of the report Nicholas Mays said PCGs could bring GPs into the centre of health service planning. He added: “There will have to be trade-offs between the different ideals for the new NHS, such as equity, democracy, patient choice and cost reduction.”
The British Medical Association’s General Medical Services Committee has accepted proposals on the setting up of PCGs, avoiding embarrassment for the Government. The Committee had been concerned that they posed a threat to GPs independent contractor status.