Less than half of GPs feel that the decisions made by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) reflect their views, a survey by the Nuffield Trust and The King’s Fund suggests.
However, the study also indicates that three times as many GPs think they can influence the work of their CCG, one year since they were established, than they could their predecessors, the Primary Care Trusts (PCTs).
GPs have kept up their overall levels of involvement with CCGs compared to a similar survey carried out last year, with 71% saying they feel at least “somewhat” engaged. But the proportion saying they are “highly engaged” has fallen from 19% to 12% in the year, and those GPs who do not have a formal role in the CCG still feel much less engaged with their Group than those with a formal role, the research shows.
Less than four in 10 GPs without a formal role think that decisions made by CCGs reflected the views of their membership, and just one in three feel the new groups are owned by their members.
Moreover, only a minority of those GPs who do have a formal role feel that they have enough time, support and training to carry out their roles properly.
An increasing number of GPs agree that CCGs have a legitimate role to play in influencing their clinical practice, including prescribing, referrals and the quality of care they provide to patients. And they are positive about how CCGs could change and improve general practice itself. Just over half felt that being part of a CCG had already improved their relations with other practices, and had changed the way they referred and prescribed, although fewer felt that being part of the CCG had improved the overall quality of care they provide.
Respondents to the survey felt that CCGs were much more likely to listen to them than the PCTs were; 40% of GPs now say they can influence the work of the CCGS, compared with only 13% who felt the same about PCTs.
And GPs were more likely to rate CCGs as “very” or “quite” influential over their work (73%) than any other body, including NHS England, but just 13% felt that the Health and Wellbeing Boards (HWBs), set up to oversee better joined-up care in the new system, were “very” or “quite” influential over their work, at this stage.