Shaky confidence in Harrow CCG transparency!

CCG2In February 2015, we asked the NHS England (NHSE), Harrow Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Care Quality Commission (CQC) to come clean and explain how effectively Harrow CCG is managing conflicts of interest and ensuring transparency. They failed to convince.
The CCGs can choose to co-commission primary care services from GPs which is likely to increase significantly the number and scale of conflicts of interest. Therefore, a reassurance is needed to promote public confidence that conflicts are well managed, and measures are in place to ensure transparency at the local level when making commissioning decisions.
In Harrow, some GP practices are concerned about the transparency-related situations which include:
While there is plenty of vacant space at Alexandra Avenue premises, why Harrow CCG rents private space at Pinn Medical Centre (Pinner) whose senior partner is the chair of Harrow CCG?
The same Pinn Medical Centre provides walk-in primary care service seven days a week, and Alexandra Avenue, a part of Ridgeway surgery whose partner is a Harrow CCG member, offers weekend walk-in service.
Both of these outlets provide a number of other medical services.
The Commons public accounts committee said that a number of GPs who worked for the CCGs also had shareholdings in the organisation that provided out-of-hours care – such arrangements had “inherent risk of conflicts of interest”.
Now the National Audit Office investigation report, part of an inquiry into conflicts of interest in clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), published last Friday, says that the GPs who are members of the governing body of their local CCG have the potential to personally profit from new health services.
The report said that the role of GPs needed to be transparent as under these arrangements “there is potential for some GPs and their colleagues to make commissioning decisions about services they provide, or in which they have an interest”.
The National Audit Office report should be a wake-up call for those involved in commissioning and evaluating the health & care services.