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Commissioning groups blocked from holding onto PCT surpluses

PCTs have been told they must erase all outstanding debts by 2013 – but any clinical commissioning groups or PCTs generating a surplus will have it hoovered up by the NHS Commissioning Board.

The 2012/13 NHS Operating Framework reveals any surpluses delivered by CCGs or PCTs will be handed to the NHS Commissioning Board at the end of the year, and they may only be reinvested ‘in future years'. The framework instructed GP commissioners to work with PCTs to clear legacy debts by April 2013, and said it is a requirement for SHAs and PCTs to begin 2012/13 without planning for an end-of-year deficit.

The framework also said PCTs and GP commissioners will be limited to signing 12-month contracts next year, apart from in exceptional circumstances. In a bid to crackdown on poor quality care, the report said GP commissioners should sanction providers who do not comply with contracts, and ensure new deals with providers arm commissioners with powers to penalise providers for complaints, mistakes and incidents at their services.

The framework states: ‘The final year-end aggregate surplus generated by SHAs and PCTs in 2012/13 will be carried forward to the NHS Commissioning Board in 2013/14, with an expectation that PCT originated surpluses will be made available to the relevant local health systems in future years.'

‘Commissioners should ensure their contracts allow for providers to complete central returns on mistakes, never events, incidents and complaints and use sanctions if they are not compliant.'

‘Contracts, in general, will be limited to 12 months for 2012/13. Anything beyond that time period would be by exception and would have to meet defined criteria.'

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