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West Norfolk GPs are pathfinders

PUBLISHED: 15:35 02 March 2011

West Norfolk doctors are part of the government's pathfinder scheme

West Norfolk doctors are part of the government's pathfinder scheme

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2009

Family doctors in the west of Norfolk say they want to cut bureacracy and offer better healthcare in the community as they take over responsibility for services in the coming months.

The West Norfolk Practice Based Commissioning Consortium is the latest Norfolk group of GPs to be designated as a “pathfinder” leading the way in taking over commissioning and planning of health services.

The trial will lead up to April 1, 2013, when PCTs will be abolished and GP consortiums across the country will take over the majority of buying or commissioning responsibilities.

The West Norfolk group’s chairman Dr Malcolm Skinner said: “West Norfolk Practice Based Commissioning Consortium is delighted to have been awarded pathfinder status.

“We are currently in the process of amalgamating with four Wisbech practices to form a GP commissioning consortium and are in the process now of electing an interim executive.

“Combining our current 23 practices with Wisbech practices will enable us to improve services for our patients when we fully take over the commissioning role from NHS Norfolk in 2013.

“Geographically we will be positioned as the main catchment area for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and look forward to working very closely with them in the future.”

Chief executive Sue Crossman said: “We will use this opportunity to test out new ways of commissioning at a local level by developing an organisation that is clinically led and works in partnership with our social care and voluntary sector partners.

“We are determined to ensure we do not just re-invent mini PCTs but that we do ensure high quality effort and achievement with minimum bureaucracy and maximum cost-effectiveness. Our initial focus for joint working will be on developing services that will better support people in the community, reducing health crises that necessitate hospital admission and ensuring that they have all the care that they need to feel safe at home.”

GP consortia in North Norfolk and in Great Yarmouth and Waveney are already part of the pathfinder scheme.

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