A third of practice mangers in CCG roles feel they are being "sidelined", estimates the Chief Executive of the Institute of Healthcare Management (IHM).
Sue Hodgetts told MiP some practice managers are like "rabbits caught in the headlights" as a lack of guidance has left them "afraid" of making mistakes in their new commissioning roles.
She also fears there isn't enough practice managers involved with CCGs at a management level, risking the absence of a key "lynchpin" to bring clinical and managerial operations together.
Hodgetts warns GPs that fail to listen to practice managers in CCGs "will almost certainly" face a deterioration of patient care, higher drug bills and the disintegration of community cohension.
"Practice managers are getting sandwiched under these reforms and I would estimate around a third feel they are being sidelined by fellow CCG members," she said.
"This seismic change has brought about so much complexity without any guidelines or any advice on how to deal with the new processes."
In order to plug this gap, the IHM together with the Institute of Commissioning (IoC) – who recently merged – will launch the Commissioning Support Programme to during the Easter months.
The programme aims to outline what a practice manager's role will be "in the new world" and direct them to the right training courses.
Hodgetts also said while a survey of IHM members described the Health Bill as "flawed" and called for it to be scrapped, she said publicly calling for its outright withdrawal would be "a step too far".
Instead, the Institute is considering calling for part three of the bill (on competition) to be dropped.
By Louise Naughton
Do you think the importance of the role of a PM within a CCG is being recognised? Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
"I think my role on the North somerset shadow board is seen as invaluable. I don't hold a particular portfolio but my experience in practice gives me a good grounding to become involved in various projects-including commissioning LES, prescribing and elective care. I am valued by my colleagues and peers, but i do agree that perhaps I am more fortunate than other PMs. Incidentally, I would be interested to see what the support programme has to offer as I personally feel I have stepped up several notches and need to be upskilled in leadership as a commissioner" – Valerie Denton, Weston-Super-Mare
"No i don't think PM's are being recognised. CCG's are encouraging GP's to be part of the process by selecting them for Executive and Non-executive roles, but PM's are not considered at all. PM's seem to be way down the pecking order in CCG's, but it will be the PM's who will have to take on the majority of the workload. PM's have a valuable input and see things from a different perspective. They should not be ignored" – Elizabeth, Wakefield
"I agree what with CQC as well PM's are going to be stretched to achieve all the measures that some CCG's are putting in. Will the CCG's management(control) of GP practices be better or worse than the PCT's" – Alan Morton, Oldham