Wednesday, 11 November 2015

How to minimise the risks of Conflicts of Interests in Clinical Commissioning Groups

It was really only a matter of time until we had some significant exposé on the Clinical Commissioning Groups and Conflicts of Interest. Indeed it is no surprise, since we discussed this very risk many months ago.  Today The Times and BMJ informed us that GPs have awarded at least £2.4bn to their own companies.

I don't think there is much to be gained from revisiting the previous discussion but I think the Department of Health may want to consider their response to The Times and BMJ findings.

There is little mileage in asking for evidence that there was a conflict of interest in the award of the contracts - let's just start with a presumption that there will be. But isn't the real test to be found in whether or not subsequent value for money is delivered? Therefore I would suggest the Department of Health adopt three policies:
  1. Create a benchmarking service which publicly shows the table of rates paid across the various CCGs;
  2. Place an obligation on providers to demonstrate how they provide on-going value for money, not unlike the previous local government Best Value for Money obligations;
  3. Place an obligation on CCGs to publish how they are performance managing their contracts to ensure the required quality of service is maintained, if not improved.
Not rocket science but may help overcome the downsides of Conflict of Interests.

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