An influential group of MPs are planning to investigate whether GP commissioning consortia should have to have nurses on their board.
The Commons health committee last week said it would review “arrangements for integrating the full range of clinical expertise into the commissioning process” under the government’s proposed reform in coming months.
There is concern nurses and other clinicians will not have enough influence over the GP commissioners and Nursing Times is campaigning for consortia to appoint nurses to their board.
The health committee, in a report into the health reforms, said: “We believe it is essential for clinical engagement in commissioning to draw from as wide a pool of practitioners as is possible in order to ensure that it delivers maximum benefits to patients.
“[GPs] should be seen as generalists who draw on specialist knowledge when required, not as the ultimate arbiters of all commissioning decisions.”
The report says nurses make a “significant contribution” in primary care and “are increasingly responsible for ‘micro’ commissioning decisions such as referral for investigations”.
It continues: “Greater nurse and other professional involvement in commissioning would be a logical extension of the intention [to link] the budgets for secondary care with those who make the referrals.”
The report stops short of saying consortia should be required to have nurse members but says the committee with investigate further.
Sarah Wollaston, a member of the committee and a GP, said: “It would be unthinkable for GP commissioners not to consult colleagues. The question is whether they are mandated to have someone on the board, or mandated to seek advice [from other clinicians].”