The NHS will undergo one of the most radical shake-ups in its history this week, devised to give GPs new powers on the front line and liberate the NHS from political control.
Under the controversial 2012 Health and Social Care Bill, clinical commissioning groups will control a £65bn annual budget — more than two-thirds of the total NHS budget.
The new bodies will be responsible for designing and commissioning local health services, including mental health services, emergency care and hospital care.
The reforms are intended to open up the NHS market to greater competition by making it possible for companies, charities and other health providers to bid for work.
Every GP practice in England is affiliated to one of the 211 commissioning groups, whose boards are made up of GPs, at least one nurse, a hospital doctor and two or more lay members.
I worked on this investigation at the Sunday Times which revealed a number of board members on the new commissioning boards to already be benefitting from the changes – in one case, a clinical commissioning group has awarded a £150,000 deal to a company created by its chairman.
It was the front page ‘splash’ on Sunday – the day before the clinical commissioning groups went live.
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