A SENIOR medical professional has criticised Wirral Clinical Commisioning Group, linking leadership problems with a loss of confidence among General Practitioners in the borough.

Dr Ivan Camphor – medical secretary of the Mid-Mersey Local Medical Committee – told the Health Service Journal that the Wirral leadership had upset its members by making “dictorial” rather than “democratic” decisions when commissioning services.

In the article, published on the HSJ’s website earlier this week, Dr Camphor claims the CCG’s chair Phil Jennings and its accountable officer Abhi Mantgani – who both “stepped aside” from their posts in May to allow NHS England to conduct a probe into the group’s leadership – caused upset when he pushed through plans to withdraw £1.4m from practices for enhanced services to pay for extended primary care services.

The plans for extended hours have since been dropped but enhanced services remain decommissioned.

Dr Camphor told HSJ: “The CCG has imploded – it’s not doing what it should be doing, it’s just running a ghost existence and awaiting the outcome of this inquiry.”

He also claimed that decommissioning services was bad for patients and that withdrawing funds while GPs worked longer would have put primary care in Wirral under “unbearable strain”.

A spokesman for Wirral CCG told the Globe it would not comment on what it deemed “speculation”, adding: “The review is being led by NHS England which ill announce the outcome, once it is completed.”

NHS England said they hope to conclude the review shortly.

NHS England’s regional operations director in the north, Jon Develing, is to step in as interim accountable officer for the commissioning group

The review follows criticism from Birkenhead MP Frank Field who wrote to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in May demanding an inquiry into the “strong bond” between Wirral CCG and Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Mr Field claimed the relationship between the two may have dented the “independence” and “integrity” of local health services.

A spokesman for the NHS Trust said at the time: The working and contracting relationship between Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust as a provider of health services and the CCG as a commissioner is conducted entirely in line with our constitution.”

He said all aspects of the trust’s relationship with the CCG have been conducted in an open and transparent way and “patient care has always, and will continue to be at the heart of all our decision making.”