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PBC must be given “real teeth”, says NHS Alliance

20 November 2008

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Practice-based commissioning (PBC) should be given “real teeth” so that commissioners, whether in practices or PCTs, can ensure hospitals and other providers are delivering what is needed, the NHS Alliance has said today (20 November 2008).

Responding to the King’s Fund report in which PBC progress was said to be “painfully slow”, NHS Alliance chairman Dr Michael Dixon (pictured) said the current system seems unable to support PBC.

“There should be no excuse for failing to provide budgets and accurate financial information to practice-based commissioners,” said Dr Dixon.

“Yet that is exactly what has been happening. It is often not the fault of PCTs but of the system above them.”

Dr Dixon praised the King’s Fund “thorough study” and said the think tank was “right to say that urgent action is necessary to overhaul PBC.”

“But,” he added, “that action need not be complex or costly.”

The NHS Alliance has repeated its call for relevant financial information to be included in mandatory hospital discharge letters and reports from outpatient appointments, which it says would help PCTs to approve payment and solve problems caused by “inadequate management information”.

Dr Dixon said: “The simple solution we have proposed would transform commissioning by putting the power where it should lie – with the commissioners instead of, as at present, with the acute sector.”

NHS Alliance

Related story: Commissioning policy progress “is painfully slow”