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Provider services must not go “from pillar to post”, says NHS Alliance

14 January 2009

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If PCTs are to get their provider functions right, they need to focus on patient outcome rather than only following departmental guidelines, the NHS Alliance says.

The primary care body says that while PCTs prepare to implement the changes set out in the Department of Health’s (DH) operating framework, they need to be clear about what services their patients will need in the future, from both primary and community care perspectives, so they can assess the changes required and develop a clear plan for moving forward.

NHS Alliance chairman Dr Michael Dixon (pictured) said: “PCT provider services can’t go from pillar to post. The DH is saying this is really important and we need to get it right, but simply following departmental guidelines is not enough. We need to make it sustainable and adopt a holistic approach to service provision.”

The NHS Alliance believes that securing integrated services and care is crucial, bringing together social care, general practice, pharmacy and the full range of community services currently managed by PCTs.

NHS Alliance chief executive Michael Sobanja added: “We need to bear in mind that integrated service delivery is more important than integrated organisations.

“Our main focus should not be on the organisational shape or design, but on the values that will underpin them. At heart, PCTs should be organisations that are built around the needs of the patients and the wider communities they serve, overcoming the fault lines between general practice and community health services, primary and secondary care and health and social care.”

The Alliance says the focus should be on managing the developing provider market, rather than a prescriptive guidance on the shape and form of emerging provider organisations.

NHS Alliance