Sutton GPs to pilot new Government plans for NHS
A group of Sutton GPs have been selected as among the first nationally to implement the Government's new plans to run the NHS.
From the new year, The Sutton GP Consortium will be responsible for buying the services used by their patients.
The groups selected, known as "pathfinders", will work together to manage their local budgets and commission services for patients direct with other NHS colleagues and local authorities.
The consortium will feature about a hundred GPs from 21 practices, serving 126,000 patients.
The Government hope the new system will save the borough millions of pounds by cutting out management levels within the NHS.
The Sutton Consortium is tasked with helping Sutton and Merton primary care trust (PCT) save £22m by 2013.
Dr Jonathan Cockbain, GP and joint consortium chairman said: "I see patients every day and I believe that by putting local GPs at the heart of the NHS we will be able to shape local health services to make them work better for local people.”
Dr Brendan Hudson, joint chairman of the consortium, said GPs had already started to see the benefits of local commissioning, with services being moved away from their reliance on hospitals, and moving in to GP surgeries.
He said he believed GPs were the right people to be running health services in the borough, because they were best placed to make decisions about what services were essential.
He said the consortium did face financial challenges as it looked to make the savings, but he was confident cost savings could be achieved while improving services.
Sutton is one of the 52 areas nationally, and eight in London chosen to pilot the Government project.
Statutory responsibilities for healthcare services will be passed to the consortia in 2012/13, before the PCTs are abolished.
The move will also see Sutton and Merton PCT broken up prior to them being dissolved, with a separate consortium commissioning health services in Merton.
For a full list of the practices forming the consortium, read this story at suttonguardian.co.uk