Audit Commission: NHS yet to reach its potential

The latest report published by the
has found the government’s drive to give GPs greater financial
control and responsibility over the services they commission for patients is
only making limited progress.

Steve Bundred, Audit Commission chief executive, said practice based
commissioning offered potential benefits to patients ‘but won’t take off unless
the NHS
gets the financial infrastructure right’.

The report found factors central to success were timely provision of robust
budgets which were well understood and accepted by the GP practices which would
commission services; regular, accurate and easily understood information which
enabled GPs to monitor progress; and freedom and support for practices to make
changes and to generate and use savings for the benefit of their patients.

The report also recommended sound governance arrangements for approving
business plans and overcoming any potential conflicts of interest when practices
use their commissioning budgets to purchase services from themselves; and
greater shared ownership between PCTs and practices on how resources should be
used to support strategic objectives.

Further reading:

NHS and resource accounting: a worrying diagnosis

NHS pensions may fall short

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