Nottinghamshire LMC has released a letter and position statement – signed by Dr Greg Place and Michael Wright, chairman and chief executive respectively – in relation to the clinical peer review programme.
The letter reads:
We write to clarify the situation around a new clinical peer review programme that you may have been told about by your CCG, NHS England or via the medical press/social media.
We are concerned with how the implementation of this new requirement from NHS England has been handled, however well-intentioned it may be. There has been no consultation from NHS England with the General Practitioners Committee (GPC) at national level and CCGs have been charged with rolling this out in their areas without any extra funding attached to it. We are aware of some areas of the country where CCGs have made the decision not to implement this, being aware as it is of the workload implications and lack of resource provided to support it.
We are being asked whether this is mandatory for practices to engage with. Let us be clear that this is non-contractual work and that there is no obligation for practices to engage with it.
The GPC Chair, Dr Richard Vautrey, has spoken out on this subject as follows: “We have raised our serious concerns with this flawed peer review plan proposed by NHS England. At a time when practices are under massive pressure, ill thought through plans that place barriers between GPs and local specialists and undermine the professionalism of highly trained GPs, is not the way to improve patient services. We are aware that many CCGs have also raised concerns about these plans. We have called on NHS England to withdraw this document and instead work with the profession to better support GPs and their hospital colleagues work together to improve patient services.”
There are sensible ways of looking at referral activity but we feel that a national implementation that decrees that GPs inform the patient that they will be discussing the referral with a peer (something else we do not support), is not the answer.
If you feel that you should not be involving yourselves in this, feel free to use this letter for support and refer CCG colleagues to us, we are sensitive to the reality that many practices do not want to be seen by their commissioners as being rebellious. We are sending this letter to all CCGs for reference.