Primary care calls for inclusion in new commissioning structures

Representative bodies across primary care joined forces to call for the Health and Care Bill to ensure the professions are represented in new decision-making structures

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Representative bodies across primary care have joined together in a call for the Health and Care Bill to ensure that primary care professions will have a voice in new commissioning structures as well as the opportunity to be consulted on planning decisions.

Outlining plans for NHS reform, the Health and Care Bill is set to replace Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) with Integrated Care Systems (ICS) as the new structures for commissioning.

As part of these structures, Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs) will bring together partners to address public health and social care needs in local areas.

With the Bill in the Committee Stage in the House of Lords, where potential amendments are discussed and voted on, primary care organisations across optometry, dentistry, pharmacy and audiology have put forward suggested amendments that would ensure representation in the new structures.

The Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC), made up of optical bodies including the AOP, joined with the British Medical Association, British Dental Association, Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, and National Community Hearing Association, to call for an assurance of primary care inclusion.

The jointly-signed briefing calls for an amendment to be made to the Health and Care Bill that would ensure primary care professions are included as mandated members of ICPs.

The organisations also suggested that Integrated Care Boards should have a duty to consult primary care Local Representative Committees and primary care audiology when agreeing annual forward plans, or making decisions that would affect primary care services.

The briefing follows a similar call put forward by primary care professions in September, in which the representative bodies illustrated their key ‘asks’ of the Health and Care Bill, aiming to “ensure integrated care happens through engagement with primary care providers at all levels.