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At the heart of general practice since 1960

DH prepares to shift dozens of PCT functions to GPs

By Alisdair Stirling

NHS bosses have drawn up a definitive list of PCTs' responsibilities and functions to be split up between GP commissioning consortia, the new NHS Commissioning Board and local authorities.

The list, drawn up by the NHS Confederation in consultation with PCTs and the Department of Health, will inform the new health bill to be placed before Parliament in November.

With PCTs due to be abolished in 2013, legislation will be needed to reapportion their statutory duties - with most of the onus likely to fall on GP consortia.

The list of duties is the first fruit of a major DH-led investigation into the activities of PCTs in preparation for the shift to GP-led commissioning. The DH is also understood to be probing use of the management allowance in two PCTs in order to map where the money is currently being spent.

In addition to running primary care, the list - which runs to 14 pages - covers PCTs' general statutory duties including providing a comprehensive range of services, their duty to break even and compliance with the European Court of Human Rights and discrimination legislation.

Other sections include:

  • strategic leadership and planning - covering duties such as reducing health inequalities
  • partnership, engagement and advocacy - including statutory duties to co-operate with other NHS bodies and local authorities
  • engaging local partnerships - including such responsibilities as effective winter planning
  • providing and securing services - a large range of statutory duties in relation to commissioning and providing care
  • monitoring and evaluating - both of quality and of money
  • accountability and ensuring money is well spent
  • workplace responsibilities - including employment regulations and health and safety
  • estates and IT - both the PCT's own and GPs'
  • service-specific duties in relation to legislation such as the Mental Health Act and the Children and Young Persons Act.

The list also covers a range of other duties from the requirement to publish an annual report to handling litigation and clinical negligence cases.

The Department of Health has helped the NHS Confederation draw up a definitive list of PCT responsibilites ahead of the shift of commissioning power The Department of Health has helped the NHS Confederation draw up a definitive list of PCT responsibilites ahead of the shift of commissioning power NHS Confederation list Read the full list

Click here for the full list of PCT responsibilities

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