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Bedfordshire GPs take control of local NHS budget

11 December 2012

Doctors and nurses in Bedfordshire have been given the green light to take control of local health budgets.

Having completed a rigorous NHS assessment process, Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG), which is run and led by local GPs, is set to take responsibility for buying hospital, community health and mental health services for local people. It is one of the first clinical commissioning groups in England to get the go ahead.

Chief Clinical Officer Paul Hassan said: “From April next year, we will have a clinically-led NHS that is focused on delivering improvements for patients. This will enable local doctors and nurses to respond, innovate and develop services in ways that best meet the needs and wishes of local people.

BCCG does not underestimate the challenge of providing health services for an ageing population in a time of economic downturn. However, we believe that, by working in partnership with Bedford Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire Council and local people, we can ensure the best use of resources to provide the best quality care.

An increased level of patient engagement will be a major change in the way health services are purchased by clinical commissioning groups. BCCG has already consulted local people through workshops and focus groups”.

BCCG Chairman Brian Rolfe said: "Things won't change overnight, but local GPs, nurses and other clinicians have started working on proposals that will improve the health of their local communities”.

Dr Peter Parry Okeden, GP at Pemberley Surgery, Bedford said: “BCCG is an opportunity for GPs to have a greater say and become more involved to ensure quality services are available to meet the needs of and benefit patients.

Patients can hope to receive more care in community settings when it is appropriate to do so. They will also be more involved in how services are delivered with greater emphasis on quality and safety.

In a positive way, patients will experience a more integrated service and one that is appropriate to their needs”.

Dr Nick Curt, GP at Kirby Road Surgery, Dunstable said: “The change to CCGs means that doctors and nurses will be at the forefront of commissioning. We will have a more active role in shaping services.

Last year 2.8m patient consultations occurred with Bedfordshire GPs and we will be gathering their views, experiences and opinions as the users of our services. For the first time, patient voice will have direct input into designing healthcare services for the future.
Over time patients will see new services develop, a more responsive service and care closer to home and in their communities, where appropriate”.

Dr Alvin Low, GP at Dr Kirkham and Partners, Biggleswade said: "BCCG’s approach to service provision is far more patient focused than ever before.  Patient voice will provide an additional perspective to purchasing services, as we learn from and listen to patients both in the consulting room and in their homes.

Patient care should be visibly improved as CCGs are keen to provide a better patient experience”.

Notes to editors

Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) is a new organisation, run and led by GPs and other local clinicians, that has been created to take over responsibility for commissioning healthcare from NHS Bedfordshire primary care trust in 2013.  BCCG, which comprises the 55 GP practices in Bedfordshire, will have a budget of more than £400m to plan and buy healthcare services for the 430,000 people who live in Bedfordshire.

For further information or to arrange interviews contact:
• Phillipa Davies, tel: 01582 531824
• Lucie Carrington, tel: 01234 897482 / 07932 668927

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