- RCGP response to BMJ investigation into conflicts of interest on commissioning boards
RCGP response to BMJ investigation into conflicts of interest on commissioning boards
Publication date: 14 March 2013
RCGP comment on the findings of the BMJ investigation into GP conflicts of interest on commissioning boards
Dr Clare Gerada, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said: "This is what the College warned about as far back as September 2011 when we issued guidance around the ethics of commissioning.
"Maintaining the highest ethical standards in all our activities is fundamental for all GPs and we are fully aware of our responsibilities in declaring any conflicts of interest. But this is a new marketised system that GPs are rapidly having to get used to, in particular how we operate fairly, ethically and effectively within it.
"GPs are usually appointed to Clinical Commissioning Groups because of their experience in holding other positions, not always paid or private, but even here, the potential for conflict of interest is always present.
"Members of Clinical Commissioning Groups should be expected to disclose information about conflicts of interest and to exclude themselves from decision making where a conflict of interest exists . But there should be prompts and checks to reinforce this and rules to ensure that decision making is efficient, transparent and fair, without being overly complex or slow.
"Clinically-led commissioning on this scale is unchartered territory and GPs are being presented with a tremendous range of new challenges. If conflicts of interest in clinical commissioning groups are not managed effectively, the consequences could badly undermine the confidence of regulators, providers and, most importantly, patients, in the system."
In 2011 the RCGP Centre for Commissioning produced guidance on Managing conflicts of interest in clinical commissioning groups.
The BMJ report is available on the BMJ website
RCGP Press office - 020 3188 7574/7575/7576
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659
Notes to editor
The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 46,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.