GP commissioning ‘threatens tie-up’

Social care’s integration with health could be damaged by giving commissioning powers to GP practices, an adult services director has warned.

Practice-based commissioning would make it unclear who local authorities should “trade with” in the health sector, said Roy Taylor, director of community services at Kingston Council, south west London.

He made the remarks last week at a King’s Fund-hosted debate on primary care.

Under the policy, by December 2006 all practices would be given indicative budgets by primary care trusts to commission services, either singly or in groups.

Taylor said: “There are 30 practices in Kingston. Are they going to become one or several? How do we plan strategically across health and social care?”

In a report last week, a coalition of social care, NHS and voluntary sector leaders called for GPs to be given greater incentives to engage with councils and others in improving well-being, given their new commissioning role.

A Partnership Approach to Well-being calls for the forthcoming white paper on health and social care to enable councils, primary care trusts and their partners to jointly plan and implement well-being strategies.

It was published by the Local Government Association, the Association of Directors of Social Services, the NHS Confederation, Mencap and the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, among others.

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