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Berkshire - in upbeat mood

After a slow start Berkshire is now moving forward thanks to the PCT's investment in a locality managerto support consortia.

After a slow start Berkshire is now moving forward thanks to the PCT's investment in a locality managerto support consortia.



Dr Jim O'Donnell is PBC lead at East Berkshire PCT, covering 17 practices and 132,000 patients. He is upbeat about the enthusiasm of GPs in the region for PBC.

‘Ours is a very co-operative PCT and we work well with them. I'd say 60% of GPs in Slough want to keep progressing and are on board with PBC.'

In the last year, Dr O'Donnell has seen a change in GPs' feelings. ‘Six months ago, GPs weren't happy at the rate of development of PBC – I heard a lot of dissatisfaction. Eventually the PCT gave our locality group a PCT manager, who is very good in terms of plans, organising meetings, minutes – all the things we don't have time to do. We needed that support.

‘Now for any work that's done by working groups – clinical engagement, policy setting, plan writing, looking at clinical priorities on the ground – that time is paid for out of PBC incentive money and the practices have agreed they would use this money to pay for the GPs to attend the meetings and do the work. This has been key to convincing people that they won't be taken advantage of if they get involved, that it will be funded and that it is work of value that won't be disregarded.'

In Slough the priorities are alcohol, diabetes, heart failure, COPD and A&E attendances. There is already a LES for screening patients for alcohol problems and a scheme for brief interventions is being developed.

Dr O'Donnell feels that, among other benefits of PBC in the area, prescribing is now much tighter. He also identifies a less obvious benefit that, even where services are not up and running yet, the process of examining the service has identified a need.

‘We identified a gap in mental health between what we can deal with in primary care and what is dealt with in secondary care. Now we can reassure patients that there will be a service to deal with their problem. Sometimes nobody realises these gaps aren't being addressed and without PBC we wouldn't have known this.'

Berkshire - in upbeat mood

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