A depressing story fronting the Guardian on Saturday about a former GP collective going private, with its founders taking large profits from the sale of Harmoni to Care UK.
But the irony of this story was lost on the Guardian. GPs are not public sector workers; they are in fact private sector contractors and as such free to make such arrangements as this. However, I think many of us do feel uneasy that money that might otherwise go back into providing health services is now in private hands. I have always felt this is one of the strong selling points of the many charities and social enterprises that operate in the health service. It is one of the reasons I believe the right for health service professionals to set up on their own as a mutual is so powerful. There are over a hundred of these new mutuals, doing well and where they ensure the surplus they make goes back into the business.
But the bottom line must always be the service standards to the NHS client. Commissioning must ensure that the patient gets the best service regardless of the uniforms worn by the employee.
One of the issues that emerged in the listening exercise that caused much debate and concern was over the transparency and accountability of the new commissioning arrangements at local level. I believe GP commissioning will be an advance but it is clear that, following the guardian article, we must ensure proper handling of conflicts of interest and transparency of the commissioning processes.
What a wonderful weekend that was! Charlbury looked particularly great for the annual Remembrance Sunday parade and the usual walk to the Plough with Hound was thereputic.
We now await the publication of the new NHS Mandate tomorrow. I think this will be a good document, setting out the priorities we expect from the new NHS Commissioning Board.
And finally; have you booked up yet for the annual national ACEVO Conference? It's our 25 anniversary one and mixes academic input with good speakers on issues from governance to how to tackle the recession. This has traditionally been the chance for our CEOs to come along with their Chairs or other trustees and we make concessions particularly to encourage that. So book now.
Bookings can be made via the website:
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