GP budgets ‘herald social care tensions’

The devolution of health budgets and commissioning powers from primary care trusts to GPs will cause a number of tensions with social care, a PCT director said last week.

Paul Birchwood, director of finance and commissioning at Knowsley PCT, told a conference on the partnership implications of practice-based commissioning that GPs’ and social services’ different ways of working would make relationships difficult.

GPs’ adherence to the medical model of care could mean they had different perspectives from social workers on how care should be shifted from acute to community settings, as demanded by the health and social care white paper.

Birchwood said guidance on practice-based commissioning, which prioritised quick decision-making by GPs, could conflict with councils’ more formal decision-making arrangements for social care.

Knowsley PCT and council have fully integrated health and social care under a joint executive team headed by Anita Marsland, chief executive of the PCT and executive director for health and social care at the council.

The conference was organised by Department of Health agency the Integrated Care Network, which also launched a guide to joint working.

Whole Systems Working



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